According to the AFL, the game between
Fremantle and St Kilda is not finished. The players have showered and gone
home, the crowd have gone back to work, and the umpires have returned to their
nine-to-fivers, but somehow the match still hangs in the balance. A final
result will be known tomorrow, decided by committee in a boardroom.

Here’s how AFL operations manager
Adrian Anderson explained it yesterday: “How the match stands at the moment is not relevant because the
outcome of the match and the allocation of the points is something that will be
finalised by the AFL Commission after it conducts a hearing on Wednesday.”

Which leads us to this. If the result from
Sunday does not stand, Fremantle must be declared the winner. St Kilda will
argue that the game’s regulations were followed, and the umpire has the final
say on when the game finishes regardless of when the siren goes. But there’s
hardly a soul in football who believes St Kilda are the rightful owners of the
two points they now hold.

Sportsbet agrees. With most betting
agencies paying out on the official result – a draw – Sportsbet are also paying
on a Fremantle win, reasoning that’s the fair thing to do by punters.

Victoria’s largest betting agency, TAB, has already paid out on a draw after
receiving a fax twenty minutes after the game finished
that confirmed the scores were correct and the result would stand. If the
result is changed to a Fremantle win, TAB won’t pay out the new result. If they
were obliged too, it could be costly for the AFL.

As Caroline Wilson pointed out in this
morning’s Age,
the AFL only has itself to blame for the furore. Decisive action on Sunday
night would have averted all of this media attention.

Instead, it’s two day later and the entire
football world is watching, outrage at the ready. It would take a spin doctor
with Superman’s powers to protect the AFL from any lasting damage from this, but sadly for the AFL Superman has left the
building.

Peter Fray

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