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Alignment saga heats up
Alignment saga heats up

WAFL clubs will not boycott a chief executives meeting with the WA Football Commission next week, but can't rule out an electoral challenge to WAFC chairman Frank Cooper and his deputy Murray McHenry, council of presidents chairman Haydn Raitt said yesterday.

As East Perth prepared for a members meeting tonight to talk about the club's alignment with West Coast from 2014, the presidents of seven unaligned clubs have asked the WAFC to address 32 issues associated with the Royals-Eagles and Peel-Fremantle alignments.

The request came at a fiery meeting on Tuesday where Swan Districts president Peter Harvey had to be calmed by Raitt and Cooper after launching a tirade at the commission.

Harvey yesterday dismissed questions on his attack as a "massive overreaction".

Raitt confirmed an incident at the meeting with "one person" who he declined to name.

Issues the presidents have asked the WAFC to clarify include:

·The impact of alignments on the finances of the non-participating clubs.

·Whether Peel will pay off their $300,000 debt to the WAFC.

·Whether the WAFC had considered flow-on benefits for East Perth and Peel.

·Whether transfer fees would be paid for East Perth and Peel players moving to other WAFL clubs.

·Salary cap details for the alignments.

·Whether East Perth and Peel would be prohibited from recruiting outside their zones.

·Finals qualification for AFL players.

·The constitutional impact for the WAFL with two aligned teams.

·Whether limitations would be set on East Perth and Peel for the number of AFL players allowed on the ground at one time.

Raitt said the meeting was where "we got our heads back together again and started working as a team on these issues instead of starting to sling mud at each other".

He confirmed that there was some early abuse directed at Cooper and WAFC CEO Gary Walton, but said: "I pulled that into line very quickly. And that was from one person."

"We have got to work with these people. It can't become personal otherwise what are we doing there representing the WAFL?"

There are three commissioners seats available in upcoming elections with Peter Gibbons retiring and Cooper and McHenry seeking new terms. They will run against Stuart Love, Adam Peacock, Elizabeth Re and Judy Self.

Raitt denied a revolt but acknowledged the WAFL's preferred candidates hadn't been chosen.

"There are no personal attacks or vendettas against commissioners at this stage," he said.

"We will have a meeting at some stage prior to the elections and that is where we will get to our short list. That is probably two or three weeks away."

He said a WAFC undertaking to answer many of the issues by tomorrow had headed off a threat to boycott next week's meeting.