TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

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TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Admin on Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:37 pm

I’d had no difficulty in arranging an appointment with the General Manager of the SANFL, Darren Chandler. For our new site, I thought that instead of throwing around rumours and guesses on the forum, it was far more constructive to actually see if I could ask any relevant questions myself, so that our posters could judge for themselves on the facts.

Sturt fans would be pleased that before my appointment with Darren, I bumped into another well-known SANFL employee, Matthew Duldig and enjoyed a pleasant few minutes with him discussing his pre-season and footy in general.

But now to our interview.

Darren, there’s been some criticism of the draw, in particular the opening round, where we see only two games. They’re on the same day there are trial matches as well. Couldn’t this have been avoided?

We would have liked to, but were faced with having to fashion the draw around the Foxtel Cup. Normally there would be four byes in a season, but as we also have a State game this year, we were faced with having effectively five byes and we thought this would be too unwieldy. As a result, we’ve started with the teams playing in the Foxtel Cup playing in Round 1 to avoid this problem. The Eagles were willing to complete that round.

Another criticism of the draw, by some, is that the AFL has a say in its make-up.

The fixtures are actually drawn up independently and the AFL have no input at all. We invite the clubs to make submissions as to their various preferences and we try to accommodate them as best as possible. It’s sometimes the case that criticism is made about games or times that clubs have actually requested. With the Foxtel Cup requirements, a State game and trying to fit in club requests, it’s not an easy task, but we’re happy that it’s as fair as it can be.

Further to that, what influence does the AFL have on the day-to-day running of the SANFL competition?

None at all.

What about the Foxtel Cup? The three top teams have decided not to compete. Can you put pressure on them to change that?

Well, they make their own decision, based on their own circumstances and assessment and we respect that. We don’t want teams just going through the motions, so we’re happy with the teams that have decided to participate.

The allocation of club boundaries is another sensitive matter. What is the procedure with setting them?

That process is under way now. The Commission compiles statistics relating to participation rates and club numbers and provides those to the clubs, who have submitted terms of reference. The clubs then make initial submissions and the Commission then also takes into account data from the most recent census. Further club submissions and comments are made and the Boundaries Commission then makes its decisions, taking into account a number of factors to arrive at the fairest result they can.

Darren, what are your thoughts about playing the lead-up finals at clubs’ grounds to improve the atmosphere?

Yes, we’ve looked at that in detail and decided to keep all the finals at AAMI Stadium. The clubs are overwhelmingly in favour of that and the logistics, including support facilities, are an important factor in them preferring not to change.

In recent years the competition has been dominated by much the same teams. Is that a worry and what can be done about it, if anything, including salary cap considerations?

Well, last year six of the nine clubs made a loss, so an increase in the salary cap would put further pressure on clubs’ finances. We’ve seen clubs turn their fortunes around, with Central being the obvious example there. We’ve brought in the restricted import rule recently and we expect that to contribute to the fairness of the competition.

I have to ask this. Does the time given to the SANFL competition here take a back seat to the two AFL teams’ considerations? It sometimes appears that way.

Not at all. We have different people looking after the day-to-day operations of our overall responsibilities. For example, Leigh Whicker is obviously heavily involved in the Adelaide Oval situation. I’m involved in a number of SANFL operations, including Auskick and club and school footy, SANFL marketing, Community Engagement and inclusive programs, while Stadium matters, finance and catering are just some of the other matters looked after here.

It’s also obviously vital, though, that our two AFL teams are successful, as that is a major factor in maintaining the grants to our SANFL clubs.

Finally, Darren, our thanks for making time available to have a chat with Talking Footy SA. If we have the occasional question from our posters, can we forward it to you for an answer?

Certainly. I’ll do my best to answer them. Good luck with the site.


The discussion covered a number of other areas, including TV negotiations and events have moved on since then.

As I left, I thanked SANFL Communications Manager, Melanie Reid, for helping to arrange the interview and for her assistance with other requests.

I should also make it clear that the SANFL doesn’t endorse any particular football forum, but our thanks go to Darren Chandler for taking the time to talk to Talking Footy SA.


Last edited by Admin on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:52 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Flag No.10 on Tue Feb 21, 2012 5:00 pm

Great work R&B. I remember the days when a newspaper would do this sort of stuff.
A disappointing read for some conspiracy theorists though I guess.
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by testy on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:40 pm


Well done R&B, and well done to the SANFL for participating in the interview, Im sure that some one will pick it to bits though. Very Happy
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by howthewestwaswon on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:46 pm

Finals at suburban grounds is an interesting one - do clubs feel that they will bare some of the cost of hosting a final, will it disrupt sponsorship agreements or is it just the sentiment of playing finals at the "home" of footy?
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Lee on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:50 pm

I think it's mainly the facilities available for teams. Change rooms, media facilities , TV, etc.
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Ben W on Tue Feb 21, 2012 10:26 pm

Well done R&B! Interesting that he points out that the clubs make submissions, I am well aware of the Submission that South Adelaide have made, will be interesting to see if it gets a hearing or not!
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Big Phil on Wed Feb 22, 2012 10:21 am

Great work R&B and to Darren for giving his time, a good interview.
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Sabre on Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:33 pm

Q: The allocation of club boundaries is another sensitive matter. What is the procedure with setting them?

A: That process is under way now. The Commission compiles statistics relating to participation rates and club numbers and provides those to the clubs, who have submitted terms of reference. The clubs then make initial submissions and the Commission then also takes into account data from the most recent census. Further club submissions and comments are made and the Boundaries Commission then makes its decisions, taking into account a number of factors to arrive at the fairest result they can.[b]


Talk about "Yes minister !"
Still, that was the expected answer from a typical bureaucracy that cannot admit errors.
Completely ignoring the real issues, obvious problems and mistaken policies, whilst continuing
to sprout the gobbledygook party line over and over ad nauseam.

Oh well, thanks for trying TFSA.
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Lee on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:15 pm

I suppose he wasn't asked about 'errors', Sabre and just gave a correct, factual answer to what he was asked.

However, the time is ripe to discuss the boundaries issue in detail, so I'll start a thread on Seriously SANFL for us to continue.

I'm interested in your argument as I know a fair bit about the boundaries issue and it's one where almost every club feels hard done by.

(I note that Fort Battle-Axe is out tonight, so I look forward to your comments) Very Happy
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Sabre on Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:52 am

redandblack wrote:I suppose he wasn't asked about 'errors', Sabre and just gave a correct, factual answer to what he was asked.

However, the time is ripe to discuss the boundaries issue in detail, so I'll start a thread on Seriously SANFL for us to continue.

I'm interested in your argument as I know a fair bit about the boundaries issue and it's one where almost every club feels hard done by.

(I note that Fort Battle-Axe is out tonight, so I look forward to your comments) Very Happy
Touche 'R&B'.
I'm sure most posters realise my angry questions were only dripping in sarcasm because I knew what the answers would be.
Rolling Eyes
Next time we have Darren on board, could you tie a raw leg of beef around his neck and I'll try and entice Fort Battle-Axe
to insist on real answers to the very hard questions we all have ?
Laughing
Nah, relax Dazza. As upset as I am, I'd never subject ANYONE to that kind of torture.
Wink
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by topsywaldron on Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:09 pm

Admin wrote:we're faced with having to fashion the draw around the Foxtel Cup.

So for potentially three games of Foxtel Cup action the SANFL are happy to make a mockery of a draw that serves nine clubs and over five months of football?

What a monumental disappointment.

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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Lee on Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:02 pm

Welcome to the forum, topsy, good to see you here.

I suppose the SANFL have no choice, rather than them being 'happy'.

I don't think the draw is a mockery, but it certainly is a messy first round.

Given that the Foxtel Cup has to be accommodated, what would your solution be?
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by topsywaldron on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:03 am

redandblack wrote:Given that the Foxtel Cup has to be accommodated

Why?
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Lee on Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:05 am

Short of the SANFL breaking away from the AFL, they're stuck with it, unlesss they're happy to forego a million dollar funding cut, I suppose.

It didn't really hurt the competition last year, with crowds up again.

At least we both agree about the integrity of the SANFL comp, even if we might not totally agree about some of the internal workings.
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by topsywaldron on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:45 am

redandblack wrote:Short of the SANFL breaking away from the AFL, they're stuck with it, unlesss they're happy to forego a million dollar funding cut.

So the AFL require participation?

Seems to cast into sharp relief Chandler's protestations of no AFL involvement in our competition.
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Flag No.10 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:14 am

I think that's just the reality of football politics today isn't it? There's no direct involvement but when the AFL are stepping in with millions of dollars to prop up one of the clubs you hold the licence to, you don't flip them the bird over a more minor matter.
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Re: TFSA talks to Darren Chandler

Post by Lee on Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:17 am

Not at all. The AFL make those decisions, the SANFL have to work around them.

The question to Darren Chandler asked about the day-to-day running of the SANFL.

Chandler has nothing to do with drawing up the fixtures anyway, they're done independently. Whether we should have the Foxtel Cup and what effect it haves on the comp is another question entirely and I respect all views on that.
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