North Melbourne great Phil Krakouer leads seven Indigenous former footballers in landmark racism class action against AFL

By Andrew Prentice For Daily Mail Australia

01:56 16 Sep 2023, updated 02:03 16 Sep 2023

  • Class action launched against AFL surrounding alleged racism
  • Seven Indigenous stars involved, including Phil Krakouer
  • Kangaroos great said an apology simply ‘doesn’t cut it’
  • AFL stated any ‘formal correspondence will be reviewed’ 

Decorated North Melbourne half-forward Phil Krakouer is among a group of seven Indigenous ex-footballers who have launched a landmark class action case against the AFL surrounding alleged racist abuse stemming from their playing days.

Documents officially lodged in the Supreme Court on Friday accuse the code of failing to protect the players from alleged ongoing racial taunts during their careers.

Krakouer told News Corp said it was a relief to be finally heard and that an apology ‘doesn’t cut it.’

‘Racism has been swept under the carpet for too long,’ he said.

‘For decades Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people of colour have been racially abused while playing AFL, and we feel they [AFL] sat back and watched it all go by.

Phil and Jim Krakouer were fan favourites at the Kangaroos between 1982 and 1989
Phil Krakouer is among a group of seven Indigenous ex-footballers who have launched a landmark class action against the AFL surrounding alleged racist abuse stemming from their playing days

‘We signed up to play football, not to be racially abused. It goes so far beyond sledging.’

Margalit Injury Lawyers – who have launched a separate lawsuit with the league involving concussion – confirmed the class action involves AFL and VFL players who suffered alleged racial abuse between 1975 and 2022.

The racial abuse suffered by players was extreme,’ managing principal Michel Margalit said. 

‘Not just words, but repugnant physical acts such as spitting and violence.

‘The AFL was aware of this racial abuse and, as the keeper of the code, failed to take decisive action to protect players.

‘Many of our clients have been left with permanent trauma.’

AFL spokesman Jay Allen told The Age on Friday night the league had not been served any papers – but if any formal correspondence is served, it will be reviewed.

The siblings arrived at the club in 1982 from Western Australia and entertained countless footy fans with their athleticism
Krakouer booted 224 goals in 141 appearances before spending two seasons with Footscray

The class action follows the report into historical claims of racism at the Hawthorn Football Club between 2010 and 2016.

Coaches Alastair Clarkson, Chris Fagan and Jason Burt were later cleared of any wrongdoing – but families at the centre of the investigation are pursuing claims with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Krakouer, now 63, joined the Kangaroos in 1982, and booted 224 goals in 141  appearances.

His equally talented brother Jim also joined the club from Claremont in Western Australia and was a fan favourite.

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