Demetriou, Gale deny Kangaroos comments - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demetriou, Gale deny Kangaroos comments

By Guy Hand and Roger Vaughan 18/12/2007 07:27:00 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has angrily denied allegations of a cafe conversation in which he was claimed to have said the Kangaroos would be dead within six months.

Internet news service Crikey.com reported Demetriou and AFL Players Association chief executive Brendon Gale were heard publicly discussing the Kangaroos' decision not to relocate to the Gold Coast in a South Melbourne cafe last week.

It claimed Demetriou said the club would go broke before the end of next year and that the Roos, by turning their back on the AFL's $100m deal to relocate to the Gold Coast, had played into the league's hands.

"That story is just complete rubbish, that I understand was lifted from a fourth party," Demetriou said.

"I can't even give it any respect whatsoever, because it's completely untrue, and if you ask Brendan Gale he'd confirm it's untrue.

Gale, whose AFL Players' Association (AFLPA) is responsible for the welfare of more than 40 Kangaroos players who would be left unemployed should the club fold, also denied the conversation had happened.

"It's absolute rubbish and the disappointing thing is despite the rebuttal of the two people involved in the conversation - which is Andrew Demetriou and myself - this article's gone to print," Gale told Melbourne radio station SEN.

"It (the conversation) didn't happen and if it had have happened, I'd be very concerned because we're talking about 42 jobs.

"It looks like the AFLPA is complicit to put the Kangaroos out of business, and that's just rubbish."

But the journalist who wrote the Crikey story - former sports editor of The Age Charles Happell - said he stood by his article and the sources who informed him of the cafe conversation.

Happell admitted it was "not the most conventional way to garner a story", but likened it to a public mobile phone conversation that was impossible to ignore for those in the vicinity.

"If you're asking can you can prove it, no. No one had a tape recorder. But these people are impeccable sources and I trust them implicitly."

The Crikey article also said Demetriou insisted plans for the Gold Coast-based team, which would effectively replace a folded Kangaroos and ensure a 16-team competition, were already well underway.

On Monday, the AFL Commission gave Demetriou and the league's executive the green light to work towards a Gold Coast-based team as its key priority.

The Kangaroos have declined to comment on the Crikey article, describing it as "hearsay".

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