We won't be second to World Cup: AFL CEO
By Roger Vaughan
20:58 AEST Thu Mar 18 2010
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou at the season launch. (GSP)
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou at the season launch. (GSP)
  Have your say on Andrew Demetriou and the World Cup.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has warned that the league will not take a back step to soccer if Australia hosts the World Cup.

In a speech at Thursday night's official season launch, Demetriou has made it clear that the AFL will not let soccer dictate terms if the bid to host the cup is successful.

Earlier this week, Demetriou told a meeting with Australia's other football codes and the federal government that Etihad Stadium was off limits for the World Cup bid.

"Over the coming years we'll also have to confront a changing sporting landscape in Australia, we have to be ready for the possibility of the World Cup," he said.

"The AFL has always said we are happy to accommodate major sporting events, we have a track record to prove it.

"But we do not - and will not - accept second place for Australian football.

"We welcome other sports and major events, but we won't allow seven million fans to be deprived of Australia's indigenous game, nor put at risk the jobs of so many associated with our game."

Demetriou also said the league was not obsessed with how much money it will earn from the upcoming television rights agreement, but was more concerned with what it can do with the expected financial bonanza.

The league will probably earn at least $1 billion from the next five-year agreement, which will start in 2012.

"This new agreement, when it's finalised, will underpin the future of the competition and be invested back into the game and the generations to come," Demetriou said.

"This is a critical point that sometimes gets overlooked by those fascinated by dollar signs.

"As a community organisation, the AFL is not driven by the money generated by broadcast rights.

"What drives us is the impact this revenue can have when re-invested in our clubs, supporters, facilities,volunteers and better career paths and opportunities to attract the best athletes."

On Wednesday, Demetriou raised the possibility of a top-nine finals format once the league expands to an 18-team competition.

The top eight currently make the finals, but the league is conducting a wide-ranging review of the competition ahead of the entry of Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney by 2012.

"When we have 18 teams, are we going to have 22 rounds? Are we going to have 23 or 24?," Demetriou told Channel Ten.

"What will the bye look like next year? Do we have a final eight or final nine? Are the finals four weeks or five weeks? We don't know.

"We would be remiss if we were not looking at all options.

"We have a top eight with 16 teams and that's 50 per cent of the teams - 18 teams, a top nine is 50 per cent of the teams, that's one way of looking at it."

Demetriou also defended his hefty $1.8 million salary, which the AFL revealed on Tuesday.

"It has a bonus component where I have to achieve certain requirements - if I don't ... I don't earn that," he said.

"I think that's fair, ultimately I'm judged by the remuneration committee and I can't ask for a fairer process than that."

Should other codes have to make way should Australia host the FIFA World Cup?
Does Demetriou deserve $1.8million a year?

User comments
The AFL and its fans shouldnt complain about the AFF and FIFA attempts to stage the world cup in Australia. After all the AFL is doing a similar thing in Western Sydney and the Gold Coast. It is trying to change the sporting profile in these areas and impose an unfamiliar sporting tradition. This is simply an example of the the big fish eating the smaller fish because sport is now big business and we the sporting fans, are the consumers.
Honestly, the amount of turmoil this has created inside Australia is massive, in my opinion. I am self-addmitingly a die-hard AFL fan, and I really would not care if it had to miss a month of games. The amount of discrimination AFL receives, such as GayFL and Aerial Ping Pong is unacceptable and is increasing because of the CEO's decisions. If you can't stand a sport different to your own, ignore it don't put it down, how can you call yourself a fan or a sportsman if you do? All I ask any of you who care to read this, is consider both sides objectively and stop being so biased.
Saying the AFL will benefit by being exposed. If the AFL stopped for the soccer, how could it be exposed to the world? There would be no games to expose it. Use your brain before you open your mouth!
That stadium is not for the gay soccer, it is for the Melbourne Storm who, like the AFL, couldn't care less for what FIFA wants. So FIFA can throw all the tantrums they want, because we ain't doing nothing for them! If you don't like it, go away!
Well, stop trying to shove this European game down our throats. AFL is Australia's sport, so if you don't like it, move. We can do without your kind here. Who wants to watch *** prance around and not even be allowed to use their hands? What kind of a game is that? Take your "World Game" back to Europe, and stay there.
And to all these idiots saying AFL doesn't rate on a world scale, do u really think we care...AFL has and always will be the most attended code of football in this country. We don't care that AFL isn't world wide, this is our game and even if it was world wide we'd probably dominate like usual even though we have a fraction of the people than other countries.
AFL a girls game ? Mate the only reason some aussies play soccer is because they're scared of getting hurt. I laugh at those girls playing soccer when they get a little nudge then fall to the ground screaming like a little girl. Anyway soccer is a game for individuals...everytime they score they put on a show instead of praising the people who set it up to start with like the AFL players do. And another thing when the opposition scores a goal in soccer all they do is sit there blaming each other instead of patting them on the back and encouraging them for next time. One last thing, AFL players don't wear cute little headbands to keep there luscious locks out of their eyes...Stick to soccer and leave the AFL to us men xxx
THe AFL or NRL do not have to CEASE playing they just have to cease playing at certain venues. BIG DEAL. Imagine all the tourists who would go to AFL NRL games when there is no soccer on... i cant really think of anything better to promote the game. I have been a supporter of the AFl for 15 years. I love it. But i can see the benefit of the world cup and the benefit it would have to other codes. suck it up. its hardly going to happen again
I totally agree with Proud to be Victorian - while I admit the World Cup is a Big Deal, why should all other local sport have to move over or shut down for it? OUR game is here every season, every year. If the World Cup wants to come here, remember it is a VISITOR only .. here today, gone tomorrow. We support many codes in Australia, and if the soccer fans think that everyone else should make way for them .. its time they went back to where ever they came from, because thats NOT Australian. Support our own codes, teams and sponsors.
Firstly, i cant believe how many ignorant tools are posting *** like "AFL is our national sport we wont give it up blah blah blah" Wow. Are you people really that shortsighted? 1 month of no AFL (or moved) and your rejecting the largest sporting event in the world? Millions of tourists, huge exposure for Australia, billions in revenue. Yeah, you guys are right lets not postpone AFL for the world cup. I mean it wont bring exposure to AFL will it? Grow up and open your eyes.
(5) Possibly only short term pros (unless it increases soccers popularity or boosts tourism enough to outweigh the negative effects of Aus Holding the world cup) (6) Rioting - hope they dont bring this as well (7) FIFA gets most of the money it earns from TV and sponsorship (8) ? Its obvious I have missed many pros and cons, however it is clear that supporters of other sports have a right to be concerned. I would love to host a Soccer Worldcup - I would definately go to games for the great atmosphere, however I do not want to do this at the expense of my AFL or NRL clubs folding due to financial pressure. The FFA need to strike a deal with other sports - not just tell them to get out of the way. Please consider both sides of the coin - both AFL supporters and Soccer supporters!
It is obvious that MOST of the people commenting on this discussion board who are pro the soccer worldcup in Aus are only thinking about Soccer. Stop thinking that you are right and everyone else is wrong no matter what they say. There are many pros and cons about hosting a Soccer World Cup Pros (1) Increased Tourism hence boost in business (2) Worldwide media coverage of Australia (3) A Boost for Soccer - a sport still emerging in Aus (4) Upgrades of Many Stadia around Aus (5) New Stadia Built in Aus (6) Jobs Created to do this work - and other flow on effects such as upgrading transport for the hundreds and thousands of people coming to Aus (7)? Cons (1) Loss of Long term stadium sponsors (FIFA will advetise its own sponsors) (2) No other major Sporting events for up to 4 months (3) Loss of sponsorship for NRL and AFL clubs - some clubs may fold - still having pay players and staff (4) The cost of upgrading stadia - will they be used in the future? (5)
I really don't understand why the like of Demetriou and Gallop are making this such a massive, and more importantly, public, deal. Sure you're going to have your opinions, but why not just convey them privately with the FFA and other codes? The only thing he and others are doing by going public is 1. enraging the football public and 2. making it seem like he will only accept the major sporting event if its done his way.
What a regional mentality you AFL supporters have....a great way for AFL to showcase the game to the world. Were talking about a sporting event that overshadows the Olympics on a global scale. The revenue created by this event will be a boom for the economy and you 1 eyed AFL suppoters just may benifit. I question whether his is truly a sporting nation when we wont even embrace the worlds biggest sporting event. No wonder AFL has'nt expanded to the overseas market......and please dont talk to me about soccer (actually football to everyone else) being a girls game.....when your sportsman run around in short tight hotpants!!!
It confuses me that people in this country believe that you can only enjoy one code of football, and must treat the others with distain. The fact of the matter is that we enjoy a variety of different codes, and we as a nation should be able to support all of them. With the increase in tourism offered by the world cup, this is a great opportunity for local industry to get a much needed boost, especially after the global financial crises. Keeping in mind that the world cup only lasts a month, I’m sure the cleaver minds at the AFL could come up with a workaround so that their fans will still get to see all the games. The other thing to consider is the great opportunity for the AFL itself to sell it to the world. With the attention of so many nations, surly it would be of benefit to the AFL if they organised a few demonstration matches. People need to stop thinking of this as a “One or the other” situation, and look what it can do for sporting in Australia in general.
i think that Demetriou is a complete idoit. World Cup is once every 4 years and if Australia do get to host it ... it will be history in the making. AFL does have a great following in Australia, but compare that to the Billions of Soccer Fans World wide and it does not even come close. so who cares if the season has to be paused in the middle of the seasons or other plans need to be made at other venues .... you then can expose the sport to the world and try to increase the suporter base for the game. I think he really needs to kick himself for saying that as if he stays that line of thought, AFL will lose out and Soccer and NRL will gain a *** load of support
Everyone seems to be missing the point here, saying the AFL is trying to dictate its own terms. Wake up! This is exactly what FIFA are doing by demanding all sports in Australia cease operation if it were to host the World Cup. Demetriou isn't trying to take over the world with his statement. He is standing up for Australian sport whether it be NRL or AFL by disputing FIFA's ability to run a monopoly. We do not accept monopolies with our petrol, our supermarkets so why should FIFA expect such a privilege? To the World Game fans i keep hearing about, the A-League asks where the bloody hell are ya? To all the fickle NRL fans who are jumping on the bandwagon (which should surprise no-one), do you realize there would be no Origin that year with clubs folding due to 50% of sponsorship being pulled? Instead of bashing the AFL and Demetriou, praise him for making an attempt to save not only his game and clubs but your own aswell. Credit where credit is due and for once Andrew you deserve it.
Can this be an opportunity for us to get rid of AFL completely? Let the free market prevail, long live REAL football. I'm sick of AFL being shoved down our throats, sick of the mainstream media belittling the real football code, despite its mass popularity. This can be the turning point for sport in our country.
I agree with Rob from Wollongong. If the AFL are so threatened by the World Cup, and the State Govementment just sit on the fence so they don't offend the AFL, don't play any games in Victoria. Then see how many people turn up to watch Fremantle play Bulldogs at Etihad... With a bit of luck Demetriou won't be in charge of the AFL by then and we can have someone a bit more forward-looking in the job. Like everyone else says, he should get over himself.
I don't normally comment on these things, i just like to read where the world is at and what everyone is thinking. I think Soccer is boring and have no interest in it whatsoever, however If i actually thought it would help our state or country then i'd be all for it but at every major world soccer match, there is an all in brawl and sometimes very serious injuries. Yes there are fights at afl games but not to the extent of entire crowds getting involved. And there are more people in Sydney than in melbourne that would like the soccer so to be fair to soccer fans, hold it in Sydney where they are more likely to get the crowds. That way the majority is happy.
Andrew Demetriou how much would it cost to expose the world to AFL. If we were lucky enough to host the World Cup the eyes of billions of people would be on us, what an opportunity this presents for the promotion of the AFL code. Find a solution and let all prosper.
... it is with the Victorian Government. They are the ones who approved a new rectangular stadium to be built at a size TOO SMALL FOR A FIFA WORLD CUP GAME. They are the ones, despite Australia's population growing rapidly, who agreed to this. They are the ones who approved a stadium design that means extensions will cost more than the stadium itself. Had that stadium been built big enough, then not being able to use the Telstra Dome would not be the big issue it is. So let's start asking the question "Who was responsible for that stuff up?"
It is the Ultimate sporting event - Lasts for Best part of six weeks - Will Bring Mega $$ to the Australian economy as well as boosting Australia's International Profile. Some Idiot from a 3rd Rate game that only Australians play (No disrespect)things he can put this down. Hoping that England win the bid - as Im a Pom - but living In Australia - I will miss the games.
AFL - watched by millions v FOOTBALL - watched by billions AFL cannot stand in the way of football and I still cant believe AFL is watched by so many people though to be honest it is much better than League and Union but a baby of a sport compared to Football. And for all those that say this is Australia and we're different well there in lies the problem so the other 6 billion in the world are wrong
What a fool!!!, AFL is a game played solely to entertain VICTORIANS!!!, the rest of australia and definetly the WORLD couldn't give a toss about the opinions of one tiny little football (ha) code. Sure, the other states have a fan base, miniscule as it is, but what is that in comparison with a sport which numbers it's viewers in the BILLIONS. Dimitriou, this is the WORLD game, if you have to suspend or relocate a few games of your hokey footy league, do it and get over it. Hosting the World Cup is one of the few events which puts the eyes of the entire world on one stage, we should be doing our best to promote what an awesome place Australia is, and get this event on our shores. Not look like whingers having a sook cos we can't go out and play today.
RE - trussy's comments on stadium filling.. The Gold Medal Football Final between Spain and Cameroon in the 2000 Sydney Olympics attracted 110,000 people. It is the biggest attendance ever for a sports match in our country that didn't feature an Aussie team!! I hardly think it will be a problem selling out stadiums if we get the rights to host the World Cup.. Trussy - You can go on about the NQ Fury, but where are Footscray now??? They needed the old Brisbane Bears to keep them afloat (technically speaking). Even Rugby League has had its fair share of financial problems with teams having to merge to avoid extinction.. Nik, never be ashamed of where you come from. Just take pity on the narrow mindedness of the minority of Aussies who can't see how hosting the World Cup could actually benefit their sport as much as it will ours... Demetrio's comments show how very unpatriotic he is by putting his own concerns ahead of whats best for the country financially...
It's too late anyway, with all this bickering about it FIFA will ignore us... A country needs to be unified in this, otherwise we'll miss the opportunity. I'm afraid it's too late for us as a country, we can't stand united and we're all obviously too ignorant to see past our own ***... just like another mob of people we like to emulate... We're too busy watching fat *** people lose weight than get our own *** off the couch and make a stand for what this country needs. It's a sorry state of affairs... you ridiculous people. Rather than opening our doors and welcoming the world we'd prefer to fester in our own ***. Shame on you Australia.
Just a quick observation of everyone's comments upon this subject being for or against.I have played every code of "football" in this great land of ours and even travelled to the World Cup in Germany in 2006.I cannot fathom how many people are not understanding what the cup will do for our country.Business-wise we can advertise our country to bring in the tourists after the cup has finished, not forgetting what they will contribute whilst it is on here! Im not saying that it will be without controversy as there is always something that happens at the cup-whether good or bad. In Germany, the atmosphere was ecstatic, not to mention how much Germany benefited from not just the financial earnings but from meeting other cultures and what everyone brought to the table(Is the AFL scared that they might lose "market share").. Just a reminder that soccer is the number one played game in Australia and has been for many years, although it is not the number one spectated as NRL,AFL,cricket etc.
You are a legend all right. I couldn't have said it better myself
If you want the world cup, go home to Europe where you came from. World Game? Don't make me laugh.

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