Outgoing AFL chief Andrew Demetriou says the price of food at venues is exorbitant and fans should consider bringing their own as a protest.
Demetriou’s replacement Gillon McLachlan, who was appointed on Wednesday, has already spoken about the need to address the costs faced by fans.
Melbourne Cricket Club boss Stephen Gough argues it’s impossible to drop prices at the MCG without increasing other costs for fans.
Gough says the MCC is dealing with high labour costs and a $270 million redevelopment debt.
Demetriou says the sooner the AFL finalises its ownership of Etihad Stadium the better, as it will give the league greater control of other costs which are passed on to fans.
“I’m interested to read this morning Stephen Gough has already put a knock on that about doing anything about food prices and justifying it because of the high cost of labour and other things,” Demetriou said.
“There’s no doubt the costs that we control at the football, we’ve maintained the affordability.
“But it’s the external costs that do from a supporter’s and a fan’s perspective have a huge impost.
“The car parking for example even at Etihad Stadium, food and all the beverages, ticketing charges.
“There are some costs that seem exorbitant.
“The sooner, if we can get hold of Etihad Stadium and own it, it would give us an opportunity to do something about those costs.
“People have got the right, if you really want to make a protest about it, just take your own food to the football.
“That’s probably the strongest protest people can make about exorbitant prices.”
Gough has told a Melbourne newspaper he’s aware the charges associated with food, drinks and finals tickets were causing heartburn. But he said a lot of factors came into play.
Demetriou, who steps down next month, says the code in general is in fantastic health despite recent criticism.
“We can talk ourselves into a lather about how negative the game is, the game’s being wrecked by roving mauls … and the crowds are down,” he said.
“By the end of this week’s round the crowds will be up on last year.”
Demetriou says he’s considering corporate offers.
“I don’t want to do anything in the public sphere,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to retreating back into private life.”