By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Australian Football League Central Australia (AFLCA) needs to take more responsibility not only for the conduct of players in the Easter Lightning Carnival, but also for their “entourage” coming to Alice Springs for the fixture.
This call comes from Paul Fitzsimons (pictured) following the rampant anti-social behaviour, rock throwing and vandalism which followed the carnival again this year.
Mr Fitzsimons is the chairman of the AFLCA Advisory Group. He is echoing comments from fellow-member of the group, Michael Liddle.
Mr Fitzsimons, who has decades of experience with local football management, says it is incumbent on the AFLCA to ensure the visitors respect the conduct the Alice Springs community is expecting from them, and have made acceptable arrangements for food, lodgings and transport back to their communities after the games.
This should be made a condition for participation in the carnival.
Mr Fitzsimons says it is not good enough for the AFLCA to just have players “running on for 100 minutes of football” and wash their hands of the often unacceptable events around the carnival.
He says his group was formed to give advice to the league, on issues of interest to the community, and representing the community.
However, the league has for some time now been “under-recognising” the committee, taking a “don’t call us, we’ll call you” attitude.
He says the “drastic underplaying of the off-field behaviour is of major concern.
“The AFLCA allows people to come to town, neglecting the need to ensure the safety and welfare of the town.
“The league pockets any profit, looks to recruit star players, seeks further community support for the game.
“The AFLCA needs to embrace the community much more than simply having paid staff oriented on their careers.”
The Alice Springs News Online has been unable to contact the league but has left messages requesting comment.
By ERWIN CHLANDA