Legend tells AFL: Tear up your MCG Grand Final contract
West Coast great Glen Jakovich says the AFL must tear up its contract with the MCG and award the Grand Final on merit if it is truly a national competition.
Dual premiership star Jakovich on Wednesday labelled restrictions on WA-based teams training in groups of 10 as AFL "nitpicking" of the highest order.
The league has a contract with the MCG until 2057 in a week when non-Victorian sides have accused the league of bias in fixturing and the ability to train together under their state provisions.
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire said that was "blissful naivety" given the contracts in place.
But Jakovich, who won two premierships despite at times being forced to play finals in Melbourne against lower-ranked Victorian sides, said the league abandoned those MCG rules in 2004 and could alter contracts again.
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The MCG's contract was extended in a deal that saw the state government put $500 million into infrastructure, including the AFL's redevelopment of Marvel Stadium.
Brisbane legend Jason Akermanis last week told the Sacked podcast the AFL's scheduling of the Lions away against lower-ranked Geelong in the 2004 preliminary final was an "organised hit".
"If you want a truly national competition you have to adhere to what the national competition means," AFL Hall of Famer Jakovich told the Herald Sun.
"If a team earns the right to hold the Grand Final and they have got the stadium to facilitate the Grand Final then they hold it. That's what the national competition means.
"It is equalisation and you get the right.
"The fact there is a contract in place, that is no different to the contract in place when we were guinea pigs in those finals and finished higher than Victorian-placed sides and under Vic-centric rules we travelled to play in a final against an opponent ranked lower than us. Talk to me about 1996."
In that 1996 season West Coast finished third and won its qualifying final but had to play an Essendon team that finished sixth in a semi-final at the MCG and lost, ending its premiership hopes.
"If you want a national competition there are states like WA, NSW and SA that have stadiums of 50,000 or more," Jakovich said.
"If it's black and white you say these are the parameters. The highest-placed team has earnt the right and that's the way it goes."
The Herald Sun revealed last week club complaints had seen the AFL stop WA-based sides from training in groups of 10 despite being allowed under West Australian mass gathering rules.
"There are bigger things the AFL need to put their energy into," Jakovich said.
"Just because we are open 10 days or two weeks earlier (than other states) why does that mean we can't train together?
"It is nitpicking by Victoria and the AFL for doing that. Jump on a plane every second week and then see how it goes. We would like to play seven games at Optus Stadium."
Originally published as Legend tells AFL: Tear up your MCG Grand Final contract