Sport AFL Demetriou exit paves way for Good Friday footy

Demetriou exit paves way for Good Friday footy

Andrew Demetriou
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Outgoing AFL chief Andrew Demetriou has left open the possibility of the league staging a breakthrough game on Good Friday in 2015.

Demetriou, who is in his 11th and final season in charge, has been an opponent of playing on the religious holiday.

“Next year the season starts later because of the Cricket World Cup, after April the third, which happens to be Good Friday,” Demetriou told radio 3AW on Friday.

Asked if the league would consider kicking off the season on Good Friday, Demetriou said: “It won’t be my decision.

“The draw comes out in October, after grand final day.”

AFL deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan is considered the favourite to take over from Demetriou, although Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale is also reportedly being urged to apply.

Several clubs have been pushing for Good Friday football.

Another fixture drama for the league is the Richmond-Carlton clash, which Demetriou would prefer to see hosted by the MCG in round one.

Demetriou says the AFL can safely bank on crowds of 80,000 once the fixture returns to its rightful spot in round one at the MCG.

Thursday night’s round-two clash between the arch rivals attracted 62,037 fans.  

The match couldn’t be played in round one at the MCG because of the ground’s contractual arrangements with Cricket Victoria.

“It’s not surprising given it wasn’t the opening round, and it reinforces why we’re keen to start the season at the MCG first,” Demetriou told ABC radio.

“We would’ve preferred to play that as the opening game, Thursday night.

“We would’ve got 80,000.

“It was probably down on what we thought. We probably thought we’d get closer to 70,000.

“No doubt, ideal world we’d start with the MCG with a bang, get a big crowd.

“It was pleasing to hear the Victorian state government looks like it’s going to contribute $10 million to the Junction Oval (cricket development).

“It won’t happen next year because we’re starting late because of the Cricket World Cup.

“But I think down the track there’s enough goodwill to get access to the ground earlier and if we could do that it’d be good.”

Richmond-Carlton games in round one have attracted crowds of more than 70,000 in five of the past six years, including 2013’s figure of 80,971.