The sport’s most powerful club owners are locked in a bitter fight to retain their control of the game’s most valuable assets, while the AFL is embroiled in a battle for the soul of its game and its future.
As a result, the AFL must make major changes to its future as a sporting body, and it’s about to make significant ones.
The AFL is in the midst of a historic moment in its history.
Its owners have made a historic decision to abandon the AFL as the major sporting organisation of our generation, a decision that will change the face of our game forever.
The first step is for the AFL to recognise the value of the clubs it owns.
As owners, we’re responsible for ensuring our teams remain financially viable, secure and relevant.
This is an incredibly difficult task, but the AFL needs to be at the forefront of recognising the value clubs bring to the game.
The biggest problem with the AFL and its owners is that they don’t want to acknowledge the fact that they own the game in some ways.
That’s where the AFL can start.
The NRL has the most clubs, the most successful, the best fans and the most loyal supporters, but it’s also the most corrupt.
It’s a perfect storm for the NRL to turn into a perfect game, where fans are encouraged to get behind the team and their favourite players.
This would be the perfect way for the sport to change.
The second step is to recognise that it’s not just the clubs that matter.
The AFL is the biggest employer in Australia, and while the NRL’s clubs are financially well-off, they’re not being paid the same wages, benefits or performance-related pay.
This has left the AFL with a huge gap to fill between what it’s spending and what it gets back.AFL clubs need to become accountable to their fans, as well as the clubs themselves.
The sport is now a lot more about community, which is why the AFL has an obligation to do a lot better with its support of grassroots footy.
The final step is a new system of governance that would make the AFL more accountable to its fans and clubs, and would ensure that it pays the right players the best wages, with the right performance-based pay.
This would ensure the AFL would be more accountable and would also mean that it would be less reliant on the whims of its owners.
The most important thing to recognise is that it will take time to change the way the game is run, and the AFL will need to get serious about this.
The new AFL is set to be revealed this week.
If you want to know more about the sport, get your tickets today.
Follow Ben Smith on Twitter: @BenSmith_AFL