Fans have had their voices heard at in a forum that will inform the AFL of their thoughts on the indigenous game.
Our first fan forum saw lots of robust discussion on all things #AFL. Thanks to all the fans who attended, Mary Crooks for her help and to Steve Hocking, Sue Alberti and Peggy O’Neal for joining us. 👍 pic.twitter.com/CZpZFLrxoL
The Maurice Rioli Room at Richmond’s Punt Road headquarters hosted the inaugural AFL Fans Association (AFLFA) forum in late June. The forum provided fans from all 18 clubs with a platform to air their thoughts and grievances to the AFL in a relaxed and civil manner.
On a chilly morning in the AFL heartland, 80 passionate supporters placed their differences aside to debate a range of topics. From game day experience for fans, ticket prices, through to where and when the grand final should be played, all topics were open for discussion.
AFLFA President Gerry Eeman presided over the forum, along with former Western Bulldogs CEO Sue Alberti and current Richmond president Peggy O’Neil as guest speakers. Sporting her signature Bulldogs-branded sneakers, Alberti was treated like a rockstar by fans as she charmed the room and posed graciously for photos. Current head of AFL Operations Steve Hocking also attended, mingling with fans and listening to their concerns.
“Each year since it’s inception the AFLFA has steadily grown from very small beginnings There’s still a lot of people who don’t know about the AFLFA, but awareness is growing” Eeman said.
“A good barometer of this is the continual growth, we now have 8,000 Facebook followers and are regularly sought after by media for comment.”
The recent spate of assaults at the football was a key point of discussion, with violence and security at games high on the list of concerns. With the AFL pushing for more families to attend games, the consensus from fans was that this matter required urgent attention.
The forum also revealed there was widespread support for the grand final to remain a day-time event day; the possibility of a grand final being played interstate had garnered a small amount of support. Ticketing prices were also a major issue.
AFL Fans Association Secretary Cheryl Critchley said the inaugural event was a success,
“I found the event to be very rewarding as it allowed ordinary fans to feel that their views of footy mattered,” Critchley said.
“Many issues were raised and I learned about the challenges cheer squads face. We will now prepare a detailed report on the proceedings for those present and to send to the AFL.
“Hopefully it will give the AFL a good idea about why their fans are so passionate about the game, what they loved about it and what they think needs to be improved.”