Eugene Arocca has spoken out today on the crap Docklands Stadium deal. Again. Through relentlessly hammering the issue, even the most naive AFL follower is getting the idea that the stadium deal negotiated by the AFL all those years ago is shafting the clubs that play there.
But in reflecting on the issue, it is clear to me that no one is taking responsibility for the shamozzle, and no journo is prepared to point the finger. Perhaps the occasional reference to ‘past AFL administrations’, but that’s about it.
I think it’s time someone told the truth. It’s time someone told all footy followers who shafted Victorian football: Ian Collins.
Take a quick look at this brief fact file:
- Ian Collins held the position of AFL Football Operations Manager (ie. No. 2 man at AFL HQ) between 1993-99, a critical period in the initial negotiations on the Docklands stadium deal.
- In 1999, he moved on to become the inaugural CEO of Stadium Operations Ltd. (the company that owns Docklands Stadium), a position he still holds.
- In 2002, Collins headed a ‘reform’ group that successfully ousted John Elliott from the Carlton Board. Shortly after, rumours emerge that it was the Collins group which leaked confidential Carlton documents to the AFL exposing the salary cap breach (which led to the public humiliation of Elliott and the imposition of massive draft and financial penalties on Carlton FC.)
- In 2005, the Collins led Carlton administration decides to turn its back on Princes Park in favour of Docklands. It signals the end of the suburban VFL/AFL grounds and creates the MCG/Docklands duopoly.
- In 2009, finally realising the severity of the issue, the AFL funds a feasibility study into getting Princes Park back to AFL standards.
Ironically, it was pointed out that of all the tenant clubs at Docklands, Carlton get the worst deal. But I suppose no one can question Ian Collin’s service to Stadium Operations Ltd. can they?