Categories: SportsSports

Democracy is spreading through AFL clubs like wildfire, and some can’t handle it

Collingwood President Jeff Browne.

The members paid up, stayed passionate and then continually tested their pride in the club. Now they want to comment.

The Hawks’ choice has also underscored changing expectations around the use of club membership data (an entirely different story), with Prime Minister and former AFL Commissioner Chris Langford questioning the legitimacy of send emails to members to express the board’s views on candidates.

“These are the members, it’s a members’ club, it’s their database. I’m horrified,” Langford said. Age.

Access to such data for members is a new flash point when it comes to clubs, as corporate shareholders often say the way company resources (and shareholder funds) are used to campaign it is a reliable indication of their government, or at least what they determine. be a good government

Look at the Demons, not only losing a semi-final in September, but also a Supreme Court battle in October because they thought they were the only body with the right to use their members’ emails.

Judge Peter Riordan decided that they were not.

Melbourne Chairman Kate Roffey hugging fans during the club’s premiership celebration at the MCG in 2021Credit:fake images

Melbourne had to deliver emails and was awarded costs against him. The club used its resources to tell members, some of whom were not happy with the decision, that they themselves were disappointed.

What they didn’t say was that the club turned down the possibility of saving members’ money before Judge Riordan made his decision because he alerted them to the fact that “the line of least resistance might be for your client to decide to allow the members receive the money. balance of this information through emails” two days before your final call.

I was sitting in court. The push went all the way from active member and former board candidate Peter Lawrence at the time. If it had been a ranked final, you would have sat Max Gawn, Christian Petracca, and Clayton Oliver on the bench to save them for future battles.

And this wasn’t even an election, but rather a campaign around the constitution with the Fiends changing both their constitution and election rules over and over again in recent seasons, ostensibly to keep challengers at bay.

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Such an approach, whether real or perceived, will not work because members will become more demanding of transparency in both actions and process.

Social media will also keep questions bubbling, if members have governance issues that resonate with supporters and keep campaigns alive and spirited. They may also see a side of their club leaders that they don’t like if they have a penchant for late-night tweeting.

Many still won’t initially care, saddened, as we all are, that one of our outlets from thinking about elections and campaigning (watching football and thinking about the lists) is disappearing.

Charging

That ideal was dashed in part because the nominated directors used their profile and status to try to influence so many other aspects of our lives, rather than seeing their role simply as giving the team its best chance at success. And the clubs became obsessed with telling us about their values.

So here we are with sponsors and some elements of the fan base who want more from their club than just winning – to hold clubs accountable on a variety of issues like the game, gender diversity and racism. Otherwise, offline members will start to make their presence felt.

That is forcing many to get involved with off-pitch issues at their clubs.

We’ve seen shareholder activism influence corporate boards (as we saw with the AGL battle) and the trend has carried over to soccer, at least in the 11 member-based clubs (the clubs located outside of Victoria give their members fewer opportunities to influence the composition of the council).

Democracy can be complicated and being on club boards is a thankless task.

But with record memberships, club administrators had better find a way to turn the AFL spring into a positive development, engaging members rather than being afraid of what they can offer. Otherwise, the game will be much more difficult to follow.

Let’s face it: Hawthorn supporters are learning a quick and fierce lesson that elections do matter. They will not be the last.

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Merry

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