AFL banishes Voice to Parliament campaigns from Grand Final day

The AFL Grand Final will not feature any exhibitions for the Voice to Parliament while the NRL has agreed to sell about $400,000 worth of advertising space during its finals series to the Yes camp.

Sky News host Chris Kenny says former Australian rules footballer Michael Long wishes to visit London to ask King Charles to “endorse the Voice”.

The decision comes despite the AFL being among several major sporting bodies to support the Voice including Tennis Australia, Cricket Australia and the NRL which has sold about $400,000 worth of advertising space during its finals series to the Yes camp.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was reported to have been optimistic about the sports endorsing the Voice during the finals but the AFL commission decided against leveraging its biggest day for the Yes campaign.

The AFL Finals Series kicks off on Thursday night with a blockbuster clash between Collingwood and Melbourne and millions of fans are expected to tune into several games in the lead-up to the September 30 Grand Final.

The AFL Grand Final will not feature any Voice to Parliament campaigns despite its public support for the constitutional change. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

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Victorian Liberal Senator James Paterson told Sky News Australia fans would not appreciate being bombarded with Voice advertising while enjoying the football on their weekends.

“This may be a rare moment of clarity from our sporting codes, they’ve woken up and realised that actually footy fans do not want constitutional advice or a moral lecture from their sporting club or code and I think it’s a very sensible decision,” he said on Thursday.

“People just want to watch the footy, they just want to watch the Grand Final they don’t need to be lectured on how they’re going to vote that’s their own choice and they’ll make that on the 14th of October.”

Former St Kilda star Nick Dal Santo added he had always seen AFL as an inclusive game but had no issues with the organisation distancing itself from politics on Grand Final day.

“Am I disappointed? I am not because my understanding of the AFL is it is more than just one particular date,” he told Sky News Australia on Thursday.

“They do a superb job to promote all charities everything that life is about and it’s a real community feel so I understand if it is disappointing for some but for me personally I know they do a lot in other areas to support everybody.”

Boxing legend Anthony Mundine has come out advocating against the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, labelling it a “takeover”.

“Why the hell do we need a Voice? – we’ve got people in parliament, we’ve got senators … we are already making our voices heard,” Mr Mundine told Sky News Australia.

AFL Fans Association President Ron Issko told the supporters would likely prefer to make up their own mind on the Voice without influence from the AFL.

“Fans views would vary on the Voice and it’s up to the individuals to decide how to vote,” he said.

The Voice referendum will be held on October 14 two weeks after the NRL and AFL Grand Finals with millions of fans expected to tune in to both events.

The NRL has not confirmed whether it will include any Voice campaigns on its Grand Final day on October 1.

Despite no official engagements being confirmed the Daily Telegraph reported the Yes campaign was purchasing about $400,000 of advertising space including electronic boards around the grounds at all NRL finals.

The Yes campaign has employed several sporting legends to promote the Voice to Parliament including former AFL stars Adam Goodes and Eddie Betts along with NRL champion Johnathon Thurston.

The No camp was been supported by outspoken Indigenous rights activist and former NRL star and boxing world champion Anthony Mundine who claims the Yes advocates are being paid off.

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