SANFL has questioned the AFL’s announcement of a mid-season draft – due to come into effect next season, saying the move will create uncertainty and confusion for SANFL clubs and players.
SANFL CEO Jake Parkinson said the League had written to the AFL earlier this year to express its concern about the impact a mid-season draft would have on the SANFL League competition and was disappointed by the decision of the AFL Commission.
“We have been on record as saying we are strongly opposed to any move by the AFL which causes disruption to SANFL teams and players – and subsequently uncertainty for their supporters – midway through the season,” Mr Parkinson said.
“We have a vibrant State League as highlighted by the attendance of over 40,000 at this year’s Grand Final. That’s something worth valuing and protecting in the football landscape by the AFL.
“While we naturally want to encourage players to aspire to the highest level, we do not believe that should come at the expense of clubs who are trying to win a SANFL Premiership only to have their best players cherry-picked midway through the season.
“There is a significant level of investment in terms of resource, time and energy by volunteers, members, players, coaches and administrators that goes into building a SANFL team in pursuit of the ultimate success.
“Additionally, the mid-season draft asks players to make huge sacrifices and take a leap into the unknown, potentially interstate, with no guarantees about the outcome on their future prospects.”
Mr Parkinson said SANFL has written again to the AFL executive asking for answers to a range of questions in terms of protecting the welfare of the players and the interests of SANFL clubs and the competition.
“We await their response and further clarity on how the mid-season draft will work for everyone involved,” he said.