AFL – Still a Man’s Sport?

This interview explores current topics surrounding Australian rules football with the introduction of the Women’s league for the first time this season. The main research found that the AFL has a large pay gap between men and women’s professional AFL players. The ABC provided the statistics that female players are being paid 125 times less than their male counterparts. The Australian also discussed sexism in the sport. Additional research showed that there was a huge difference for New South Wales and Victorian fans, between what matches were available on free-to-air and cable television stations, as well as additional coverage on news stations, both television and radio, and in local newspapers.

Australian Rules football has had a predominately Victorian fan base within Australian society. The introduction of the Women’s league created exposure nation and world-wide in bridging the quality gap between men’s and women’s professional sports. But the question is, is the AFL really doing enough to bridge that gap so women unlike men, must work alongside their professional football career in order to make a living? Recently ABC online provided statistics showing that female players are being paid 125 times less than their male counterparts. It was also made apparent in the AFLW’s annual report that an entire women’s AFL team cost less that an individual average male player.

To gain an insight, UTS Sports Media spoke to an AFL mega fan Clare in Sydney last week. She has this to say on the issue: ‘’ With it being such a massive thing firstly, to the women in the AFL league, I think they’re doing a fantastic job this season, with the introduction of women. However, there’s still a long way to go for women to have the same opportunities as men do.’’

The Women’s league certainly gained great exposure across the shortened eight-week season, the exhibition match, won by 19 points by the Demons, reached 1.1 million viewers who watched at least five minutes across Channel 7, 7mate and Foxtel. (Footywire.com.au statistics).

With so much exposure and fans barracking for their favourite teams, it would make sense that football would be a full-time job for the female athletes, like the men? Think again. The top two players of each team will get about $25,000 for the season, and then $10,000 for high profile players, and $5,000 for everyone else. You read correctly: These elite athletes will earn merely $5,000 for an eight-week season. All are expected to train about nine hours per week, plus pre-season. This seems incomparable with an average male player who earns just over $300,000 (ABC.net). This essentially equates to buying an entire women’s team for the cost of a single male player. It just doesn’t add up.

Clare voiced her concerns on this topic by saying, ‘’As a mother of a daughter, I am very excited by the fact that women’s league has been introduced. And by the time she’s old enough, hopefully those years would have provided enough time for it to have developed and become an equal opportunity. ‘’ The problem seems to lie with broadcasting rights to women’s matches, as that’s where the big money lies. It would be expected to take a few years before the broadcasters would pay rights to show women’s footy matches, according to AFL’s general manager of game and market development, Simon Lethlean.

As long as the women are paying the same game, they deserve the rights to be paid equally.

Below is what the public had to say:

AFLTwitter Poll

AFL Fb Poll

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Interview and Slideshow

I decided to interview a very interesting man names Sundesh, from gym I train at following my technical glitch and got a great insight into how he firstly, migrated to Australia in search of asylum during a political coo, in Fiji during the late 1980’s in which he was a radio journalist himself.

Sundesh was captured by military and explained he was hung by the arms for three days straight, in punishment of reporting on what was going on in Fiji. He decided to flee his country, and sought help from a politician in Australia. He was able to secure residency and relocated after three months of correspondence.
Sundesh, went on to explain how he now thinks of Australia as home. And a country who provide him and his family safety, food and a sense of belonging during a time of need.
Sundesh explained he trained at the gym, we were currently at during his relocation to Sydney. But then went on to travel 127 countries in search of a story to write a book upon.

He is now 74 years old, and has found himself back at the same gym he trained at all those years ago. Vince and Roz’s gym is one of Australia’s longest running gyms, having been operating at various locations around Sydney since 1953.
Sundesh explained that having broken his back during his travels in New Zealand, physical therapy was the only thing that has made him as mobile as he is now.
He is happy to be back at his old training ground, having re-joined the gym Just two weeks ago.

This is what he had this to share with us, about his triumph over serious injury.

Body Building a Legitimate Career.

I’ve been curious about the hard-core world of body building since the first time I saw my Dad practicing a ‘’Double-bicep’’ pose in the mirror. He was an amateur body builder in his glory days and finds great joy in telling me his stories of competition journey, the different equipment they would use back then and his brief moment of fame, in shaking hands with the Greatest of All Time, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The world and the sport have both progressed, since Dad’s hay-day and I took the time to sit down with an up and coming body builder from Anytime Fitness Macquarie Park, John. John explained he has been a body builder since his early twenties and at twenty seven years of age, he hasn’t looked back. He firstly begun lifting weights to gains size for his chosen sport, Martial Arts. But then soon, found a passion for growing muscle and the rest was history.

When asking him about what he has gained from his competitive body building career he begun by saying ‘’you gain your first essence of control.’’ ‘’You find your limits, and you develop mental toughness.’’ That’s some very interesting knowledge, shared by someone with the mental drive, to purposely dehydrate themselves 24 hours before stepping on the stage for a body building competition. The athletes do this to ensure they look most vascular on stage. Which is one of the three categories they are judged on, along with Symmetry and conditioning.

John shared that he has met some interesting characters, during his time training 6 days a week twice a day; on his body building journey. We discussed the temptation involved within the sport to make it easier for himself: performance enhancers. Many others competitors, just like John choose to inject themselves with performance enhancing stimulants such as testosterone or human growth hormone. This is legal in some categories of body building, but John remains ‘’All Natural’’ competing in the ANB (Australian Natural Body Building) category. He is constantly on a strict diet, but not the typical athlete’s diet that you’d think. John indulges in a high-protein high-carbohydrate loaded meal plan, with the goal to eat six times a day! This is to maintain his impressive triple figure scale weight. Because John trains so vigorously, he maintains his muscular physique rather than putting on weight around his waistline.

John went on to explain it is an ‘’ongoing triumph,’’ to maintain size. As he works as a laborer during the day, it can be easy for him to lose weight, unintentionally. ‘’I’ve got to remember to eat someday,’’ he jokingly explained, of his demanding physical lifestyle. Most body builders are fortunate to make preparing for a competition their full-time job. Unfortunately this isn’t the case for John, whose work demands a nine-hour day, sometimes six days a week.

John had some great final advice to give to young athletes, desiring to make body building career of their own: ‘’Leave your ego at the door, constantly challenge yourself, do not think. Act.’’ Sounds easier than it looks to us.
If you or someone you know is interested in embarking on their own muscular-growth journey, you can find out more by visiting: http://www.anb.com.au