Football Should Not Be Played On Good Friday
Every year the argument over football on Good Friday arises and every year the result is the same, why should this year or any other be different?
Good Friday is a religious holiday celebrated by Christians, a religion that is followed by 63.9% of the population as of 2006.
To the majority of these people, Good Friday is seen as a day for prayer or at least remembrance, not for football.
Although many Christians may have no objections to football being played on the day or even encourage the practice, betting against the majority of the 63% who are against it is a significant risk, a risk the AFL is not willing to take.
There is also the possibility that some players will not play because of their beliefs and that would be incredibly embarrassing for a code that has left the day free for so long.
Another main argument for a game to be played is that the AFL will be able to create a new blockbuster, with little else to do on the day, it may gather a bigger audience.
In theory this could be beneficial for two smaller clubs – say for example North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs were given the game.
Let’s be realistic though, at its core, the AFL is a business as we have seen with issues such as a Tasmanian team.
With a potentially huge audience available, is the AFL going to give the game to two smaller clubs? No, they will put in two big clubs to rake in as much money as possible. Ask yourself do we really need another Collingwood blockbuster?
There is also the obstacle of Andrew Demetriou, he has clearly stated his stance on Good Friday and he doesn’t look like changing it any time soon, as long as he is in power, there will be no football on Good Friday
Aside from that, for many Good Friday is the beginning of a long weekend, a chance for families to get away, they are not looking for anything to do as they are on holidays, and they are certainly not looking for more excuses to stay at home.
Finally and maybe most importantly is that there is no need for football on Good Friday, pre-season starts in February and the season finishes at the end of September.
Over the course of these 7 or so months, football takes up every weekend, not to mention all the time spent midweek scouring over every possible topic.
Are we really that desperate for football that we cannot go one day without it? After all it is just a game.
Football Should Be Played On Good Friday
Perhaps the biggest question mark over Good Friday football is why the debate is still happening.
Despite years of dissension between two mixed groups of players, coaches, supporters and personalities – Good Friday still sees no AFL.
In a country that prides itself (questions of legitimacy aside) on being a haven for all cultures and religions, the AFL has declared itself the national code – therefore, it’s the sport of the people…right?
Long gone are the days where Australia has considered itself a Christian state; that was just an awkward transition period between the English ‘discovery’ and occupation of the country to as early as Federation.
Since than, Australia has swelled with immigrants to the point that 37% of the country is non-Christian.
Along with this, questions remain about how many of the 63% Christian population are practicing and/or whether they even celebrate Easter.
Tonight also marks the first night of the Jewish festival ‘Passover’ or ‘Pesach’. As a multi-cultural state, surely this is a holiday worth even a mention?
Please, don’t get me wrong: I love Easter. Along with the benefits of relatively guilt-free chocolate, the Appeal raises a large amount of valuable money that goes towards cancer research, and the Easter Bunny puts a smile on the face of many an ill child.
This is all fantastic, but why it relates to the staging of a football match, I can’t comprehend. Besides, football is played on Easter Sunday which many believe to be the holiest day of the festival.
Surely football staged on Good Friday would not offend the majority of the population, but rather add some continuity to the Friday night footy tradition?
Among other codes, soccer and suburban football matches are staged on Easter Friday. The English Premier League actually brings matches forward and uses them to contribute to the relaxed nature of the afternoon.
Perhaps the most important part of abolishing the Easter Friday ban is the potential blockbuster that comes from the timeslot. Every club in the league has at least one blockbuster clash, except for St Kilda, North Melbourne, Geelong and the Western Bulldogs.
Opening up the Friday night spot could allow two, or even all four of these teams, to have a specially marked clash on the calendar that would allow them to take in gate receipts and even develop a rivalry for the ages.
The only question, I reiterate, is why Easter Friday hasn’t been looked at practically by the AFL? The possibilities that football on the holiday could bring are bountiful, and it’s high time that the AFL recognised the hypocrisy in playing football on Sunday and not Friday.
What do you think?