Andrew Demetriou concedes Good Friday is “inevitable” Photo: Wayne TaylorEven the most stubborn opponents of Good Friday football now concede that it is “inevitable” an AFL match will soon be played on the Christian holy day – in all likelihood beginning next year.
Outgoing AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou confirmed on Friday morning that he believed a game on Good Friday was an almost certain proposition in the near future, although as Fairfax Media earlier reported, the teams involved and match’s starting time were considerations yet to be contemplated by the AFL Commission.
“I think it looks like it’s probably going to be inevitable, when it’ll happen I don’t know, we haven’t made that decision, and what time we play the game and who plays the game, those decisions haven’t been made yet,” Demetriou said on Radio 3AW.
The league chief refused to speculate on which teams might participate in any potential game, and scoffed at reports that had indicated Victorian clubs such as North Melbourne, Carlton, Essendon and the Western Bulldogs were frontrunners for a pioneering role on Good Friday.
“[A decision on the teams] will be made in time for next year’s fixture. The commission already said and announced late last year that we’d review the Good Friday position for 2015 so that’ll be decided some time before we release the fixture in October,” Demetriou said.
Despite maintaining his longstanding personal conviction that Good Friday should be remain a rare empty public holiday on the AFL calendar, Demetriou admitted he could understand the potential positives that could stem from a game being scheduled to fill the void.
“I think my views have been pretty consistent, I’ve always thought that it’s not a bad thing to have a day off and that just because everybody else does it doesn’t mean that we should do it,” he said.
“I understand the Peter Gordon argument that says that it’s maybe a good opoortunity for the smaller clubs to get an event, but I also undertand the argument that it should be played at night as opposed to the day, but I also understand the argument that it shouldn’t go up against the Royal Children’s Hospital, so there’s a lot of pros and cons to the argument, that’s why it’s a complex issue.”
Demetriou emphasised that although gate takings from a Good Friday game could go towards the Royal Children’s Hospital Appeal, that should not be a major consideration taken into account when making a decision.
“The clubs are always very supportive of the Royal Children’s Hospital anyway, regardless of whether there’s a match or not,” he said.
The appeal needed however to maintain its primacy, Demetriou argued.
“If you are to play the game, it’s probably best played in the evening, but again if you do play you do come up against the Royal Children’s Hospital, which is an institution, it’s a very important part of the Melbourne’s fabric, and it goes to a very good cause, and I don’t think we should be looking at jeopardising that.”