TAX FUNDING FOR AFL – Australian sports and politics

Comment by Sasha Uzunov – Editor, Alternate Comms

If The Australian Football League (AFL) is a [US corporate style] “entertainment industry” rather than a governing body of an Australian sport, Australian Rules Football, why is it getting millions of Australian taxpayer funding? Australian govt cut subsidies to Ford, General Motors Holden, Toyota, etc years ago.

Funding for AFL shouldn’t come from Australian tax payer for stadiums, facilities, clubs etc. Taxpayers no longer subsidise multinational car “industry” companies such as Ford or Toyota etc. Income or revenue streams (pardon the US corporate term) should come from football consumer [fans/supporters/ barrackers] or from the US government / US State Deptartment’s US Sports Diplomacy Program.

Moreover, the AFL promotes US cultural nationalism via Australian Rules Football. It gives football jumpers to US diplomats and politicians in high profile media events. In one instance the AFL endorsed then US Vice President Joe Biden.

STRANGE SOCIAL POLICY – which doesn’t touch the United States ?

AFL has a bizarre and contradictory “anti colonial policy” in which it bans Britishness – so much so the AFL has even erased its own British heritage – to appear anti-colonial to indigenous Australians but the AFL promotes US nationalism which has long standing colonial issues with native Americans and African Americans. One case in point is the AFL’s glorification of the US NFL, a sports body ripe with colonial controversy in its dealings with native Americans and so forth. Moreover, the US in the recent past, going back to the 1950s, spied on indigenous Australian leaders in Australia ! It banned indigenous Australian leader Bill Onus from entering the US in 1952 and linking up with the US Civil Rights Movement.

AFL also boasts about not keeping quiet on social issues eg Indigenous Australians, LGBTQ etc – but interestingly enough it has remained silent on the US’s contradictory behaviour over LGBTQ, as in supporting regimes which are anti LGBTQ but the US lecturing other states over the issue. Moreover, the AFL has remained very very silent over the US government’s persecution of Australian publisher Julian Assange.

AFL also deliberately uses US sports terms – turnover, thrown a curve-ball, etc. – to create cultural and political empathy for the US and consequently US foreign policy.

It’s baffling why Australian taxpayers are forced by Australian governments (federal, state and territory) to fund AFL.