- THE AFL has kickstarted the bidding process for 2019 AFL Women’s team licences. Ten AFL clubs are without a licence and they were on Tuesday issued a document outlining requirements. AFL football operations boss Simon Lethlean said he expects clubs to submit within a month before a decision is made by the AFL Commission by about July.
- Shanghai’s media yesterday reported as “a historic breakthrough” the inaugural AFL match for points in China that was played at the famous Jiangwan Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Chinese-language Wenhui Daily, with a circulation of 1.7 million, said: “The core of the charm of Australian football is that it provides no protection from physical impact except the speed of the players’ reactions.”
- The AFL wants to turn its Shanghai experiment into a primetime fixture played under lights.
- The Guardian writes that the increasing professionalisation and future expansion of the women’s game means clubs not associated with men’s teams are at risk of losing their licences
- The top three spots on Nielsons Social Media ratings were taken by matches broadcast on Seven and Fox Footy, while the remaining spots were taken by NRL matches covered by Fox League.
- Mediaweek talks about the independence of AFL Media.
- THE Bulldogs and Raiders have both been fined by the NRL over salary cap breaches carried out during the 2016 season. The Raiders were found to have breached the salary cap by $10,691 in 2016 after infractions with the second tier cap ($2598) and the NYC top 20 cap ($8093). The Bulldogs’ breach of the cap in 2016 was far more substantial, going over the NRL cap by $81,965 in 2016. [See also: Fairfax report.]
- The NRL is expected to increase its salary cap offer as negotiations over the collective bargaining agreement with players reach a critical stage. The Australian understands there is a counteroffer to be put on the table today by the NRL which would have a base cap in the vicinity of $9.1-$9.2m
- Paul Kent writes that the AFL’s China experiment should have NRL fans worried and asking why we weren’t there first
- The surging popularity of the Hyundai A-League has been reinforced yet again with confirmation of record membership numbers across the competition. The impressive figures show the total combined membership of the ten Hyundai A-League clubs in 2016/17 was 117,415, the highest ever recorded. That represents an increase of 7% from last season.
- The chance of a major free-to-air network purchasing the remaining broadcast rights for the A-League is still alive with Channel Seven looming as a late option to televise the competition next season. However, any bid from Seven won’t likely come in at the FFA’s value of the rights and is all but certain to fall under the current price SBS has paid for the last four years of between $7 million and $9 million. The FFA rejected an initial proposal from Seven early in the sale of the rights but is understood to be open to renegotiating terms.
- The Guardian explains why even $346m is not enough to prevent civil war in Australian football
- In the latest part of Guardian Australia’s series analysing the current state of the game, Joe Gorman looks at an idea that’s easy to like but much more difficult to implement – and the battle raging between expansionists and traditionalists
- The Victorian government is attempting a pincer movement to head off the closure of the Melbourne Rebels, warning the ARU not to use any of the $14 million it gives to rugby union to purchase the Rebels. General manager of Major Events for Visit Victoria, Damien de Bohun wrote to Pulver warning him that any attempt to utilise the proceeds of the partnership agreement ($14m, including the $5m for a future Bledisloe Cup) to fund the purchase of the Melbourne Rebels franchise licence would be seen by Visit Victoria, the Victorian government and the Victoria public as an abandonment of the good faith agreement.”
- THE future of the Melbourne Rebels rests on a knife’s edge after owner Andrew Cox was urged to go public with an “ongoing commitment” to keep the club in Victoria as the Australian Rugby Union was told to withdraw its offer to buy the ailing franchise. A letter obtained by the Herald Sun reveals the State Government is prepared to help secure the Rebels’ future on the proviso the club is not sold.
- Media in South Africa is agitating the two teams to be forcibly culled as part of SANZAAR’s plans to reduce Super Rugby from 18 teams to 15 should come from the poorly performing Australian conference.
- AUSTRALIA’s third biggest sport is officially up for sale with the majority owner of Supercars slapping a $100m plus price tag on the V8 powered national icon. Five corporations including News Corp Australia, publisher of The Daily Telegraph and parent company of Fox Sports, have already registered an interest’ in the sale of Archer Capital’s majority stake in Supercars.