Gillon McLachlan criticised over floating fixture by Sydney Swans boss Andrew Pridham


Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham has taken aim at the AFL’s continued implementation of a floating fixture, saying it has not made going to the football easy for fans.

The league ushered in the floating fixture out of necessity over the past few seasons as it grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite statewide lockdowns being in the rear-view mirror, the AFL kept its floating fixture in place for this season, with only a nine-round schedule released prior to the start of the season.

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The floating fixture has also allowed the AFL to maintain marquee match-ups on its free-to-air prime time TV slots, but Pridham believes fans have been lost in the process.

“They’re doing it for the media rights,” he told The Age.

“I understand that, but you have to make choices and in this case, the priority should be fans, members and clubs.

“The supporters and members are the most important people in football apart from the players, and this is not in their long-term interests or those of the clubs.

“I’d be staggered if anybody who regularly spoke to fans and members or who works in a club would not have that view. You don’t have to be Einstein to see it could be enshrined in the next media contract.

“As good as Gillon (AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan) is – and he is very good – he’s not perfect. You want a CEO with a long-term view and not a six-month view. I feel very strongly that this floating fixture is a bad thing.”

Pridham’s criticism of the AFL’s floating fixture comes just days after McLachlan announced that he would be stepping down as the CEO at season’s end.

“I would like to reiterate what I said when I accepted this role – that it is an honour and a privilege to do this game. It’s the best game in the world. That’s why everyone loves it so much. The responsibility has never been lost on me,” he said.

“I feel good that the game is in better shape now than when I took over. But the scoreboard will be for others to judge. I am leaving now because it feels right. Right for the AFL, right for me, right for my family. It’s clearly more complicated than that but actually, in simple terms, it is not.”

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