The AFL grand final-winning Western Bulldogs are under fire for charging fans $150 for a photo with the premiership cup.
On Sunday – the day after the club defeated the Sydney Swans to win its first premiership since 1954 – Western Bulldogs fans had the chance to get snapped with the trophy at the Whitten Oval.
The only problem was, that it would set them back $150 to do so. That $150 got a maximum of four fans a single photo with the cup, and they weren’t even allowed to touch it.
It came a day before Bulldogs players failed to show at a fan event in Ballarat because they were celebrating at a pub in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
AFL Fans Association president Gerry Eeman branded the decision to charge fans for a photo as “disappointing”.
“We understand the Bulldogs aren’t a rich club but at the same time it is disappointing to be charging $150 for a photo,” Mr Eeman told The New Daily.
“Bulldogs fans have been very loyal for a long time and have been there through thick and thin. Ideally you’d like to see the Bulldogs recognise that with these photos.
“I haven’t seen anything this expensive before. I have heard of clubs charging for photos before, with players for example, but I haven’t come across this big as price tag.”
Mr Eeman suggested the Bulldogs should offer free photos with the trophy to fans who had held memberships for a certain amount of years.
The Bulldogs’ offer was only available on Sunday and it was unclear if there would be any other photo opportunities with the trophy.
The New Daily contacted the Western Bulldogs for comment and to find out when fans could get less expensive photos with the premiership cup, but received no response.
Bulldogs fans took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the arrangement after seeing the offer on Sunday.
Following its 2014 premiership victory, Hawthorn took the 2013 and 2014 trophies to fans around Australia.
In return for a photo the club asked for a gold coin donation which was donated to charity.
An event planned for Ballarat was advertised as a heroes’ welcome, with the council claiming the celebration as an opportunity for fans to pay their respects to the Bulldogs’ premiership players.
However the players did not show and Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge – who attended the event – apologised to the fans.
“Planning post-grand final is obviously very new for the football club and we thought we were going to be able to do a lot of things and one of them was bring the players today,” he said.
“You can imagine what they’ve got up to after they’ve won the grand final. So we want to apologise for that.
“The players would love to be here but it’s just not the right thing to do to drag them in the state they’re in. They’re pretty tired.”
He promised the team would visit Ballarat to celebrate with fans.
The Bulldogs are due to play several matches in Ballarat from next year at the Eureka Stadium.
– with ABC