The AFL are becoming frustrated with numerous absurd requests from players and their families in coronavirus hubs at the league’s expense, reports say.
Fourteen teams have relocated to hubs in Queensland and Western Australia to avoid COVID-19, with families now begging the AFL to upgrade their living situation.
AFL reporter Sam McClure said the league have fielded requests for a range of matters including demands to pay for extra food bills and to renovate their apartments.
‘The AFL’s fed up, to be honest,’ Mr McClure told the Talk of the Town podcast. ‘They won’t want to say it, (but) they’re frustrated, they’re infuriated, they’re angry.
‘There’s just too many things going on that shouldn’t be going on. Some of the requests – requests for apartments to be altered in some physical way.
‘We all know that they’re making an extreme sacrifice and we’re so grateful for that,
‘But the AFL, make no bones about it, have told certain clubs that: ‘Enough is enough, let’s get on with it, the game is struggling enough as it is, some of the requests are ridiculous and let’s move on’.
‘I think the AFL has made that pretty clear and I think you will find that’s come from the top.’
Players and families are being housed in luxury resorts in the hub locations, with the AFL footing the bill for a range of expenses including food bills.
The AFL is reportedly paying up to $3million a week to house 458 players and families in high-class locations including the 4.5 star Mercure Gold Coast Resort in Carrara.
Port Adelaide legend Warren Tredrea said whinging players should ‘grow up’.
‘They’re the first to put their hands up and whinge and want extra. I mean what are they paying for at the moment? They’re paying for their mortgages and that’s it,’ he said.
‘They’re not paying for the cost of living. They’re actually able to still get paid 50 per cent of their salary and it looks like, I’m hearing, they might not even be deducted next year if we can get through this.
‘I think as footballers, you lose perspective very quickly on how tough life is. You might’ve dropped from $800,000 to $400,000 – well go and have a look and walk the streets of Melbourne at the moment, look at the unemployment queues and Centrelink.’
The WAG contingent are subject to strict rules to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 within the league, with five clubs so far copping huge fines for breaching the safety sanctions.
It is feared a breach in the hub could threaten the entire AFL season through internal infection of coronavirus.
Carlton, North Melbourne, Richmond, Hawthorn and Collingwood have copped fines totaling $235,000 for breaking the hub rules.
Hawthorn were fined $50,000 after non-selected players brought food from outside into the hub, while Carlton got a $45,000 fine after players’ children went to Dreamworld.
A group of north Melbourne wives and partners went to a nighttime football game under the impression it was permitted, for which the club was later fined $45,000.
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin’s wife Brooke visited a Gold Coast beauty parlour after travelling from Victoria, earning the club a $45,000 fine for the quarantine breach.
Collingwood was fined $50,000 after senior coach Nathan Buckley and forwards coach Brenton Sanderson played tennis with two people from outside the team’s hub in Perth.
Critics online have accused the Victorian clubs of enjoying a northern holiday in Queensland while their home state suffers under the weight of the second weight of the coronavirus pandemic.
Western Bulldogs captain Easton Wood’s wife Tiffany posted an extended Instagram update last month to highlight the sacrifice her family has made to follow her husband into the Querensland hub.
Ms Wood said trolls should ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ before making their comments.
‘We’ve been relocated because of work. This is a work environment,’ she posted. ‘Staff are missing their families and working around the clock.
‘We are all doing all of this so the boys, clubs staff and AFL can put on a show for you and commercialise it so that the sport and clubs don’t go under in these challenging times.
‘This is really important to remember. Hundreds of people working to put on games every week to ensure the future security of the sport and all of its employees (and fans!).’
Ms Wood said the families of players are definitely not winners chasing their partners in the hub around the country.
‘In no way was it my intention to ‘brag’ or ‘flaunt this situation’,’ her post continues.
‘And no. I couldn’t have done this alone at home. I’ve battled my own mental health challenges since 2011 and I would’ve crumbled.
‘I can know myself and accept this. I’m fully recovered and I still have moments and gateways that trigger me.
‘We live with Level 3 restrictions. No beach (for leisure). No restaurants. No family.
‘I’m not asking for compassion but I am asking SOME of you to walk a mile in my shoes before you shoot your mouth off and judge so quick.’