Demetriou tells WAFC to avoid clashes
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou. Picture: Ben Crabtree / The West Australian.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou has promised to "work around" the WA Football Commission's embarrassing fixturing of a rugby union Test at Patersons Stadium in week one of the finals series and urged it to avoid clashes in the future.

Australia's match with South Africa at Patersons Stadium on Saturday, September 8, has the capacity to compromise the timing of up to two AFL finals because West Coast and Fremantle are still capable of finishing in a position to each host a final.

Demetriou, who with other AFL Commission members met the State Government, WAFC and the two AFL clubs over the weekend and yesterday, conceded the rugby fixture was "not ideal" but would not call it a blunder.

"I don't know if blunder is the right word. It is not our preferred position but given that the stadium is there, it supports major events and there is an agreement between the Government and the WA Football Commission," Demetriou said.

"It is probably not ideal that it occurs in September but we can work around that.

"You could have a scenario where there could be two finals in Perth if results go a certain way this week but we will work around that and we have spoken to the Government and the football commission today about trying to avoid that in the future, but it is what it is and we deal with it."

The rugby union Test match means a final or finals in Perth could be played only on a Friday night or Sunday afternoon.

There is speculation that if WA's first derby final was to occur it would be played on Sunday afternoon, but Demetriou said it was too early to confirm a schedule.

"It depends entirely on the result but what I would say is that the team that finishes higher would get a preference," he said.

"If you finish fifth you would probably be treated a bit more fairly than if you finished eighth."

Demetriou said the league had held discussions with the WAFC, the Dockers and the Eagles over their licence structures but ruled out the AFL ordering any change.

West Coast and Fremantle want to have direct licence arrangements with the AFL, removing the WAFC from their structures.

Demetriou reiterated the league's preference for such an arrangement but said it would not interfere.

"This is a decision for WA and WA football," he said. "It is something the AFL does not seek to impose on WA football. These aren't our licences.

"What was clearly stated by everyone around the room is that first and foremost everyone's priority is to continue the investment in the game in this State.

"Whatever happens with the licences will be done collaboratively and will be done with the best interests of West Australian football at heart.

"There is no time line on it and we will work through with the football commission and the two clubs if we can offer any assistance."

The West Australian

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