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The AFL is profiting from the spirit of Anzac Day by staging the Fremantle Dockers annual match but is failing to properly give back to Diggers, WA Veterans Minister Joe Francis says.
Under a law dating to 1960, sporting organisations that hold matches on Anzac Day in WA are required to quarantine 60 per cent of "net proceeds" for a trust set up for veterans and their "dependants".
However, the Anzac Day Trust's annual report, tabled in State Parliament yesterday, shows the AFL provided just $15,000 for the game between the Dockers and North Melbourne last year.
Known as the Len Hall tribute match, it was the fifth time since the Fremantle fixture was first held in 2008 that the AFL had only provided $15,000.
In correspondence with the trust, the AFL claimed the return was only able to include revenue "directly attributed" to the game, which excluded TV rights, membership fees or corporate box sales.
As a result, AFL chief financial officer Ian Anderson said the league lost $205,000. But in a rebuke to the AFL, Auditor-General Colin Murphy said he was "unable" to confirm whether the payment met the league's obligations under the Anzac Day Act because it had failed to provide sufficient information.
The payment, which came against a crowd attendance figure of 38,000 and lucrative AFL broadcast rights worth about $1 million, has angered Mr Francis.
Citing a warning he issued last year, Mr Francis said though he could accept a payment less than 60 per cent of the game's net proceeds, he expected a bigger contribution.
He said the AFL was cashing in on the "brand" of Anzac Day to hold the match, but it was not meeting its legal and moral responsibilities under the Act to support servicemen and women and their families.
"Anzac Day was not designed so the AFL could create an event out of it," Mr Francis said.
A spokesman said the AFL would not comment "out of respect" for the State Government while the two parties discussed the matter.