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Blowout concerns are hysteria: AFL boss

Steve Larkin 10/08/2011 05:42:56 PM Comments (0)

AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has slammed as "hysteria" the widespread concern over on-field blowout results.

But Demetriou says the AFL must act to arm poorer clubs with the financial weapons to compete with the wealthy.

Demetriou also dismissed suggestions from the likes of Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse that free agency will widen the gap between the competition's top and bottom.

Malthouse said at the weekend free agency, to be introduced next year, will mean players moving to top clubs for success, not money - thereby strengthening the leading clubs.

"That is a nonsensical argument," Demetriou told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.

"There is still a salary cap. You can go after as many free agents as you want. You have still got to fit them under the same cap.

"If Collingwood has got Dane Swan, Dale Thomas and Scott Pendlebury and Travis Cloke and whoever else ... they are going to go and get six free agents?

"I'm not quite sure where they're going to fit them.

"I think free agency is actually a good thing for the game."

Demetriou described concern over lopsided results as "one of the great over-reactions I have seen in a long time".

"I just think they are a very rare occurrence," he said, despite some 38 games this season decided by more than 10 goals, compared with 30 for all of last season.

"We always knew that the Gold Coast would have a couple of largish results.

"But I think there are underlying reasons for each result that has happened, particularly when you consider the might of Collingwood, who are a fantastic team, and Geelong.

"We have seen two very, very fine football teams and I think that is cyclical. I don't think it's one that requires a crisis meeting and hysteria."

But the league's chief executive acknowledged action was needed to provide fair financial footing for all clubs.

"We recognise ... that there is a gap between the clubs that have significant net football revenue and the clubs that don't," Demetriou said.

"What that is translating into is that they (wealthiest clubs) have the ability and capacity to spend more in their football department, which obviously over time gives them an edge.

"So our challenge is to try and get more funds in the hands of clubs that need it so they can reinvest in their football department and give them an opportunity to compete.

"It's certainly not a bail-out. It's an equalisation tool and the best thing we can do for the competition ... is to give every club the best opportunity to compete and win.

"Clubs exist to win premierships - that is why players play.

"And we need to arm them to be able to compete."

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