Footbal commentators will have less time for “bubble and froth” under the AFL’s new proposal. Photo: Channel SevenThe AFL has revealed it is set to impose heavier penalties on clubs who are tardy to move into position after intervals as part of a bid to keep the action flowing.
The AFL has closely monitored the time players take to move into positions after quarter-time, half-time and three-quarter-time breaks. There is a maximum six-minute break between the siren ending the first term and starting the second, and ending the third and beginning the final quarter. There is a 20-minute break at half-time.
Television broadcasters have been frustrated at times with some teams lingering and continuing to chat when they should already be in place to resume play, with Geelong understood to be a serial offender until recently.
Broadcasters work to a specific rundown, meaning commentators have had to fill up this added time with what one network manager said was ”bubble and froth”.
Elite sports competitions around the world are now more stringent in their starting times.
The AFL Players Association has supported the crackdown but only if the rule is operated in a ”reasonable way”.
”The AFL wants to shorten overall game length so have put in place minor measures to achieve that, including this one,” AFLPA general manager of player relations Ian Prendergast said.
AFL spokesman Patrick Keane said teams were expected to start on time. ”To run a major competition, all clubs are expected to be on time at all times for match starts and re-starts, with live broadcasts of all games,” he said.
”Sanctions vary depending on the length of the delay by a club in getting into position and whether it is a first offence or recent offence for a club, or has happened on multiple occasions in a short period.
”It is a matter of record that a number of years ago we had a couple of clubs fined large amounts [Port Adelaide being one] for being late in finals, and those sanctions headed towards $20,000.”
In its changes to the laws of the game, the AFL has made it clear it wants to reduce ”dead” time and increase the percentage of the ball being in play. Players have between five and six seconds for kick-ins from defence once the flags have been waived after a minor score. Previously they had seven or eight seconds.
This move has been introduced to ensure consistency with kicks around the ground, with the view it will save up to two minutes a game.
This was made despite objections by the AFLPA, fearing it could lead to greater congestion – an issue the league continues to grapple with and believes could be eased if there is a cap on the number of interchange rotations.
In its submission, the AFLPA said: ”[This] could have a negative impact on congestion by putting kick-out players under further pressure, leading to increased amount of long kicks to packs, rather than allowing more time to hit a target, which keeps the ball flowing.”
For broadcasters, the decision to speed up the game means there is less time for replays, which one operations manager had mixed feelings over.
”We have great super slow-mo vision these days but the flipside is this means there is more live action,” he said.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.