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Sport Swans boss Andrew Pridham slams AFL 'floating round'

03:41  17 april  2022
03:41  17 april  2022 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham has slammed the AFL for introducing a 'floating fixture', insisting the league should put the interest of fans and club ahead of its TV rights.

Outgoing AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan first introduced the concept when he was still Andrew Demetriou's No2, adopting a floating final round of fixtures to ensure teams finishing in the top eight would be given a sufficient break going into the finals.

The floating round became a necessity over the past two years, when the coronavirus pandemic meant it was impossible for the AFL to carry out its traditional 23-game home-and-away season.

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Having released the schedule for its first nine rounds, this week the AFL unveiled the draw for Round 10 and 11. Pridham said the arrangement made life unnecessarily complicated for match-going fans and that the move was deliberately designed with a new TV contract in mind.

'They're doing it for the media rights,' he told The Age.

'I understand that, but you have to make choices and in this case, the priority should be fans, members and clubs.

'The supporters and members are the most important people in football apart from the players, and this is not in their long-term interests or those of the clubs.'

The floating fixture has allowed the AFL to keep some of its biggest matchups on free-to-air TV and McLachlan has previously hinted there was no guarantee the league would return to its traditional home-and-away season of fixed dates.

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'I'd be staggered if anybody who regularly spoke to fans and members or who works in a club would not have that view,' Pridham added.

'You don't have to be Einstein to see it could be enshrined in the next media contract.

'As good as Gillon [AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan] is – and he is very good – he's not perfect. You want a CEO with a long-term view and not a six-month view. I feel very strongly that this floating fixture is a bad thing.'

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