Decision making – AFL style. Nothing makes sense.

There are no ifs or buts about it. This is a disgraceful on the run decision made for no legimiate reason.

The AFL announced yesterday that the Sydney Swans would be banned from trading players into the club unless they forfeited their COLA now, as opposed to 2017 when it will be phased out.

Why?

Well that’s a good question.

No body knows.

The AFL didn’t provide anything resembling a reason.

Had the Swans cheated the salary cap? Was their draft tampering? An ASADA investigation perhaps?

No. Nothing. Zilch.

Basically, the Sydney Swans have been punished because they followed the AFL’s rules. That’s right. The Swans may have supported the COLA, but it was an AFL directive. The AFL has punished the Swans because they’ve been good at what they do. They’ve punished the Swans because a few bigwigs with growing stomachs and receding hairlines have been complaining about it. Short of an actual reason from the AFL that is the only conclusion that one can arrive at.

I hesitate to mention his name but one Edward from Collingwood is at the heart of this. He complained about Brisbane and now it was Syndey. I wonder, will he complain about Hawthorn recruiting James Frawley after BACK-TO-BACK premierships? Will the media run the story filled with anonymous quotes from other club chairman’s describing it as a ‘joke’. Probably not.

This isn’t about the COLA anymore. The AFL is right to remove it. The public couldn’t understand why somebody like Lance Franklin or Kurt Tippet would need 9.8% on top of the considerable amount they were earning. That argument made sense, and despite Sydney’s repeated claims of its necessity, the AFL announced its removal in 2017.

This is what makes Thursday’s announcement all the more confusing. If the AFL wanted the COLA gone immediately, why not do so. Why disadvantage the club?

Why punish them for lean recruiting. Yes they recruited Lance Franklin but whom did they lose in the process? Jude Bolton, Shane Mumford, Jed Lamb, Andrejs Everitt, Tony Armstrong & Martin Mattner. The AFL should be aware of this.

It’s another incomprehensible decision from an AFL commission who don’t seem able to make decisions unless they are incomprehensible. Most infamously in 2013 when Melbourne were investigated for tanking, they were fined half a million dollars, but they AFL was adamant they didn’t cheat. Did I mention, they didn’t bother defining tanking?

In the past when the AFL made decisions like these, Andrew Demetriou was blamed. He isn’t there anymore. The Commission has become too bureaucratic. There isn’t enough transparency. Not enough explanation. They’ve become a political party in Government, only there are not elections. The AFL should heed the lessons of history. The VFL was a breakaway competition of clubs unhappy with the VFA. If the public is unsatisfied, they will find something else.

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