AFL defend first round game release at same time as Socceroos

The AFL has defended its decision to broadcast the first round game during Sunday morning’s round of 16 Socceroos World Cup.

The AFL was widely criticized for the decision to announce the news at 6am AEDT – the exact same time the Socceroos kicked off against Argentina.

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But broadcast and equipment boss Travis Auld said they weren’t trying to be disrespectful of the other code.

“The reality is that for as long as I’ve been in the AFL, and probably long before that, we’ve always released the first round of the game for News Limited (Corp) on Sunday – and that was organized well in advance,” he said.

“I think we have a track record of being quite respectful and supporting other codes.

“When we published nine football matches in a newspaper on a Sunday, we felt like we always have.

“If we’ve got a round of football published in the newspaper and that gets in the way of the game, then that’s what it is.”

Australia national football fans react as they watch the public viewing of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match between Australia and Argentina. Recognition: stringers/Getty Images

Many in the sports world were less than impressed, with veteran AFL journalist Caroline Wilson saying on This Morning: “It was just lame of the AFL to put it out there today.”

“I would have just given them a little bit of clean air today… I found that disappointing from the AFL.”

Fellow sportsman Daniel Garb called the move “pathetic and petty” before saying: “The AFL have made themselves petty and insecure with their move here. Read the situation horribly.”

Auld dismissed the suggestion that it was a malicious move, saying AFL and other codes are not “mutually exclusive.”

Referring to the broader issue of giving sporting rules “clean air”, Auld addressed the announcement of the AFL’s new “gather round” to be held in South Australia, which coincidentally coincided with the second Australia-West Indies Test at the Adelaide Oval collided .

“I went to cricket last night and it’s an incredible event,” he said.

“This city is lucky to have a venue like this and they’re obviously pushing sports content heavily and it’s working.

“I’m a sports lover, I’ve been there and I think it’s wonderful and I think that just complements that.

“It speaks more for what the city has to offer from a sporting point of view.”

Adelaide Oval, 2022. Recognition: Dylan Burns/AFL photos/AFL photos via Getty Images

South Australian Prime Minister Peter Malinauskas agreed.

“If they released it last weekend it would have clashed with the Adelaide 500, if they released it this weekend they would have clashed with Cricket then Christmas then Fringe (Festival) then they would have clashed with the Tour Down Under collide, then they would collide with Adelaide Festival, then they would collide with Womad, then we have the Magic Round,” Malinauskas said.

“To be fair to them, whenever they announced it would have crashed into something here in Adelaide and I think that says where we’re going.”

Adelaide and Carlton begin the gather round when all 18 teams come together in the city for the fifth round.

Dubbed the ‘Gather Round for A Festival of Footy’, nine matches will be played over four days at three different venues, with the Crows and Blues taking on the Adelaide Oval on Thursday 13 April.

Adelaide Oval is the centerpiece of the round and will host six games including doubles games on Saturday and Sunday while Norwood Oval will host two games.

Fremantle and Gold Coast will play a Twilight game at the home of reigning SANFL Premiers, the ‘Redlegs’, on Friday, while GWS and Hawthorn will meet there on Sunday afternoon.

– With AAP.

Ash Barty wins the Don Award for the second time.

Ash Barty wins the Don Award for the second time. AFL defend first round game release at same time as Socceroos

James Brien

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