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AFL Players Are Richer Than Ever But Fans Get A Poor Deal

I can't get something to eat and drink without missing half the quarter.

23/06/2017 12:47 PM AEST | Updated 23/06/2017 12:47 PM AEST
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AFL crowds are up, but that doesn't mean the stadium experience is better.

The AFL players have hit the jackpot.

Earlier this week, the AFL Players' Association announced they'd successfully negotiated a ground-breaking deal with the AFL, where they will receive a monster pay rise of almost 30 percent over the next six years, including a wage increase of 20 percent this year.

This will increase the average AFL salary from $309,000 to $371,000. By the end of the pay deal, the figure will rise to $403,000.

For the players, it's happy days. As a group, they've never been richer. Good for them.

Our love for the game and, in particular, our club, is greater than the inconvenience of long queues and expensive memberships. But fans will only put up with so much.


But the AFL has often stated that there are four pillars of the game -- the players, the clubs, the community and the fans. They say that all of them are of equal importance and are fundamental to the game's growth.

But, exactly who is lobbying on the fans' behalf? We need a strong fans association to fight for better conditions, otherwise we're getting ripped off.

It is true that crowds are up. They've increased 2.5 percent on last year and have never been bigger. But often the experience, for me at least, has never been worse than this year.

For the life of me, I can't get something to eat and drink without missing half the quarter. Many might argue I should be better organised -- get something to eat before the game and time your run to the bar so that you're not stuck there for 20 minutes.

But why should I? Why can't I get something to eat when I'm hungry and something to drink when I'm thirsty?

And, because in today's age of categorised memberships you can't always sit with your friends, it's nice to gather in the bar after the game for a beer or a soft drink to discuss what has just unfolded. However, no sooner have your lips hit the glass than you're being told by security to hurry up and leave.

It's the sort or stuff that makes you wonder why you even bothered.

To help cut our costs and to make the football experience more enjoyable, why doesn't the AFL pay the transport providers to make our travel cheaper? Why don't they pay the grounds to keep the bars open and to put more staff on?

And why don't they give us a decent discount on the price of a ticket? The cost of becoming a member of the AFL this year is $600, which will get you in to any game for free, but there are still conditions. Even after I pay $600 a year for a membership, I have to fork out even more when I go to Etihad Stadium if I want to sit on the bottom two levels.

It's safe to say I've watched a lot of footy from the very top tier.

At the moment it seems my whinge may be appealing to the minority. When push comes to shove, our love for the game and, in particular, our club, is greater than the inconvenience of long queues and expensive memberships.

But fans will only put up with so much. If the AFL doesn't address these issues, it won't be long before fans like me stop whinging and start protesting with their feet.

Now that the players have their rise, it's time for the AFL to turn its attention to the fans. Because while it's true that without the players the fans would have nothing to watch, it is also true that without the fans there'd be nothing to play.

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