MELBOURNE, VICTORIA - AUGUST 31: AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan and AFL General Manager Football Operations Steven Hocking address the media after Steve Hocking was announced as the new AFL General Manager of Football Operations at AFL House on August 31, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media/Getty Images)

AFL football boss Steve Hocking has stated that the league would be “all ears” to the possibility of one day renaming the men’s competition to AFLM.

Speaking on The Outer Sanctum podcast, Hocking stated that if there was a supporter groundswell, the league would be open for the name change.

“There’s a whole range of thing that we’re unpacking that have just been the way they have been because of 160 years of football and I think that’s OK. I don’t think we need to necessarily be looking over the fence at one another and saying whether we need to add another initial to something, but if in time something that emerges, we’re all ears at AFL.”

The AFL however, released a statement on Tuesday afternoon to clarify Hocking’s comments.

“We had a great first round to season four of the NAB AFL Women’s competition,” the statement reads.

“AFLW has built its own powerful identity in the community and we will continue to promote its message and celebrate the league and women’s football. There are no plans to change the name of the AFL competition.”

When asked how long until the AFL commits to officially renaming the men’s competition, AFLW boss Nicole Livingston responded: That’s a very good question. Can we take it on notice and take it back to AFL House?”

She added: “It’s actually a really interesting thought process because when I am internal I do take the time to say AFL men’s competition when I speak and I say AFLW because i know that the AFL is the NSO or the national sporting organisation.”

Former Western Bulldogs vice-president and Women’s football trailblazer Susan Alberti has fully supported the move.

“It’s a no-brainer. I would support it happening. There could be some confusion out there with AFL and AFLW. We’ve got the men and the women. So why not? It’s important to distinguish between the two competitions.”