Collingwood Magpies Press conference & Intra-Club Match
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 01: Collingwood President Eddie McGuire speaks to the media at Collingwood Magpies AFL press conference at the Glasshouse Event Space on February 01, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

A letter currently floating around Collingwood FC has demanded Eddie McGuire’s immediate departure as president following recent claims of racism on the club via an independent report sourced by The Herald Sun.

Leaders within the organisation as well as senior indigenous figures within the AFL had until 5pm on Monday to sign the petition.

The letter includes the “suppression” of information by Collingwood surrounding the racism report and calls on McGuire to “step down immediately”.

McGuire has received backlash after the news was leaked of a 35-page independent report concluding that there was and continues to be “systemic racism within the Collingwood Football Club”.

“We believe Eddie McGuire has proven himself incapable of leading the Collingwood Football Club through any meaningful transformation,” the letter reads.

“We believe that there are administrators, staff, fans and members of the Collingwood Football Club who truly wish to see it transcend history.

“That can only happen with a radical shift in leadership… A finding of systemic racism is not an excuse for powerful individuals to avoid accountability by blaming a lack of policies or procedures.

“It is an indictment of a fundamentally dysfunctional culture that develops when powerful individuals fail to act responsibly.”

The letter also calls out Collingwood’s leading sponsors – Nike, CGU Insurance, Emirates Airlines, La Trobe Financial and Coles – to address the issue currently surrounding Collingwood and to provide a statement against the racism within the club.

“Since both Collingwood and the AFL have demonstrated they are not capable of responding to this report and its findings in an appropriate way, we as a community have no choice but to act. We say enough.

“Racism is dangerous. To the First Peoples of this country, racism means a long, violent and bitter history of invasion, occupation, displacement and genocide. To this day, it remains a matter of life and death. For immigrant communities of colour, it means harassment, marginalisation and trauma.

“For us, racism is not a series of gaffes or ‘mishaps’ that can simply be brushed aside.

“We stand with Heritier Lumumba and his call for Collingwood to acknowledge its failure to prevent him from being subjected to racism by his teammates, as well as the decision by senior club figures, including Eddie McGuire and Nathan Buckley, to punish and discredit him when he spoke up against racism and came forward with his experiences.

“We stand with Nicky Winmar, Michael Long, Adam Goodes, Joel Wilkinson and all those who have been subject to vilification by the club, its fans, and within the club itself. We support their right to acknowledgment, apology and compensation as recommended by the ‘Do Better’ report.

“We call on the Collingwood Football Club to appoint a person or people with significant and widely recognised credentials in truth-telling and reconciliation processes to oversee the implementation of all 18 recommendations of the CFC ‘Do Better’ report.”

The report also stated that “there is a gap between what Collingwood Football Club says it stands for and what it does”.

“While claims of racism have been made across the AFL, there is something distinct and egregious about Collingwood’s history.

“There is a culture of individuals, if not quite being bigger than the club, then at least having an unhealthy degree of influence over club culture.”

It is unsure if this is directly aimed at McGuire.

McGuire’s reputation has further been diminished after he called the release of the report “a proud day” for Collingwood Football Club at a recent press conference, to which he later apologised.

It was announced in November 2020 that McGuire would be retiring as president as of the conclusion of the 2021 season, however, this may come sooner following the current circumstances.