AFL would welcome Lovett: Demetriou - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL would welcome Lovett: Demetriou

Sam Lienert 26/07/2011 07:24:20 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has welcomed former Essendon player Andrew Lovett's intention to try to revive his football career, after being acquitted of rape.

The 28-year-old, who on Monday was found not guilty of raping a woman, still has to find an AFL club willing to recruit him, having been discarded by two clubs, then spending two seasons out of the AFL.

He was sacked by St Kilda without playing a game ahead of the 2010 season, after the rape allegation surfaced, having been traded months earlier from Essendon, with whom the speedster played 88 matches.

"Andrew Lovett is entitled to nominate for the draft, there's no obstacle in his way and I would encourage him to nominate if that's what he wants to do," Demetriou told reporters on Tuesday.

"His desire is pretty clear, that he would like to play AFL football again and if a club is willing to take him, then he'll be welcomed back into the competition."

While advocates for sexual assault victims have questioned whether Lovett's acquittal should be enough for the AFL to take him back, Demetriou said the judicial process should be respected.

"He has been found not guilty by a jury and it's an institution that I think all of us hold very dear in this country," Demetriou said.

"He is entitled to be treated like any other individual.

"If he was to nominate for the draft and was to be picked up by a club, he'd be welcomed back into the AFL fold, just as other players have been."

Demetriou made the comments after speaking at a seminar on equality in the community.

He outlined the progress the league had made in areas including promoting respect for women and fighting discrimination against minority groups.

He said the AFL had developed programs to create a "safe, welcoming, inclusive" environment for women and given support to initiatives aimed at eliminating violence against women.

"I'm under no illusions that we still have a long way to go to change the attitudes of some men towards women.

"Recent events have proved that it would be foolish to think otherwise," Demetriou told the seminar, without specifying which events he was referring to.

"But I'm also proud of what we've achieved so far."

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