The ties holding the AFL Players Association together are beginning to tear away as influential Indigenous Australians have begun a movement to better represent Indigenous players in the AFL.
AFL journalist Damian Barrett revealed the story on The Footy Show, explaining that there is a “split amongst the ranks of the Players Associations.”
“An influential group of retired Indigenous footballers is preparing to form a breakaway Indigenous Players Association,” Barrett told The Footy Show.
“This group has recently met with AFL Officials, AFL Players Association twice in recent weeks. One of those meetings was in Perth and there’s been a long list of grievances tabled and debated.”
Barrett explained the central cause for the formation of this Association was that these retired Indigenous players believe that the AFL is not well-enough equipped to deal with aspects of Indigenous life and their transition out of the game.
“Central to the cause of this group is the perception that the AFL industry is not equipped to deal with all aspects of life for an Indigenous footballer, particularly – and this is crucial to what they are about – the transitioning out of the game,” Barrett said.
The Indigenous Players Association is being pushed forward by the likes of Sydney legend Michael O’Loughlin, former Fremantle star Des Headland and AFL veteran Derek Kickett.
“There is though, as it stands tonight, a real possibility that this group will be set up separately to the AFL Players Association itself,” Barrett added.
“There is a perception amongst the group now that the game itself and these indigenous players are disaffected by several, and [almost] all aspects of the AFL system. That includes the club, the management of the players and the transitioning out of the game.”