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» China experiment ‘an absolute waste of time and money’, says Hawthorn president
China experiment ‘an absolute waste of time and money’, says Hawthorn president
Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has refused to let his team play for points in China or India and labelled the AFL's experiment an "absolute waste of money".
Four clubs last week visited India with a view to staging a game while Shanghai is set to host its second AFL premiership match in round nine this year.
But the AFL's push into the world's two most populous nations was slammed by the vocal Hawks boss.
"It will never live in India, it will never live in China," Kennett told SEN on Tuesday.
"It is just an absolute waste of time and money."
AFL chief Gillon McLachlan says the league is committed to playing in China for the next five years.
Besides the fact one in every three humans lives in either China or India, close to a million Australian residents were born in one of the two nations.
Kennett says he told the Hawks players not to expect him to ever approve them playing for points overseas, adding they have an obligation to their members to do whatever they can to win a premiership.
The former Victorian premier would prefer officials stabilise the local game before all else.
He took issue with minnows like St Kilda needing league help to balance their books.
In 2016, the Saints received $18.6 million in league handouts while Hawthorn was among seven clubs to get between $10-12 million.
"Most of the clubs are financially dependent on the AFL to open their doors," he said.
"For goodness sake, surely we should be concentrating on making the game here self-supporting."
Gold Coast and Port Adelaide will play for premiership points on May 19 at Shanghai's Jiangwan Stadium.
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