Say "NO" to Good Friday Football

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Richard Goyder, AFL Chairman

Gillon McLachlan, AFL CEO                                                                                            

AFL Commissioners



I write this email in disappointment to see that the AFL has caved-in to scheduling football to be played on Good Friday.
Good Friday, by it's very title ("Good" Friday), is universally known, by Christians and non-Christians alike, and should be so-revered and respected for it's significance as the day on which Christ died for each and every one of us. 
Good Friday hasn't received it's title - "Good Friday" - out of sheer co-incidence.

 It is a day (ie. whole day) that is considered most solemn, and is to be observed and respected as such.  It is made a public holiday (original spelling of this word was "holyday"), of unique character, due to it's solemn nature.

True enough, state leagues have "trialled" scheduling football on this, but it has certainly brought about much angst and back-lash, and they have totally ignored this.
There are several analogies that could be provided - and can be upon request - however I'll keep this email brief in acknowledgement of, and respect for, how busy you are.
Perhaps this is a financial decision, due to the "possibility" of achieving a generous amount of spectators at the ground... Perhaps.
If this is the case - it would be most disrespectful to think that the AFL is using this day - reserved for observing and respecting the passion and death of Christ - as a means of profiteering.
Whatever the reason - I would kindly ask you to weigh it up against the offense caused - to so many - at having the game played on this most Solemn day.
Whilst many may consider this to be a "personal choice" - ie. of whether one chooses to attend/watch - there are many who have little "choice" at being involved, or who are at least put in to an awkward position, due to shared commitments, namely:

* Christian belief and observance - Christians are duty-bound to observe Good Friday as a Solemn day in memorial of the sufferings and death of Christ, and such observance precludes servile work, but rather refraining from work, and meditating of Christ's suffering;

* Football commitments - whether that be as player, official, umpire, ground-staff or other...

Further, whilst it is understandable that not all who are players, officials, umpires, ground-staff, supporters etc., are Christians, there are many who are, and just as this country is tolerant and accommodating of various other religions and customs - and indeed the AFL continually pushes to accommodate all (as well as preventing ANY offense to ANY group) - I would propose that such accommodative measures are put in to place for the Solemn observance of Good Friday.
It may also be argued that both commitments can be accommodated on the one day - this indeed may be the case in usual circumstances, but Good Friday is not a "usual" day.
Plus, as indicated, Christian observance (which includes observance by those who would be listed to play some role - player, official, umpire, ground-staff, other) precludes such involvement.
To correlate an analogy - just as we wouldn't go about our usual schedule on the day of a loved one's death, or as is often the case, on the anniversary of their death, nor should Good Friday be neglected, or reduced in the same manner, to "just another day on the calendar".

I read an article that Etihad Stadium is supplying a surplus of fish for catering purposes on the day... sorry, but that doesn't cut it.                                            

Whilst abstinence from meat is a requirement for this day, it is ONE requirement, and doesn't make playing footy on this day somehow acceptable.

Nor does raising money from ground entry for a children's fund - while we all want to see children healthy, well and prosper in life, there are several other means and practices that can be employed, and such scheduling isn't less offensive on this front either.

The game has survived for 150 years without succumbing to this, and there is NO offense in NOT scheduling footy on this day, as has been the case to date... there IS however offense in doing so.

As a Catholic, as well as one who otherwise relishes in such involvement with our fantastic national game in the AFL, I respectfully, oppose scheduling of football on Good Friday, and ask you to NOT schedule games on Good Friday in the future.

I will also be asking those of this belief to boycott the game that is already scheduled between the Kangaroos and Bulldogs.
Yours Sincerely,


Michael Harrington.

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