Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has lashed the AFL’s decision to not grant his club a guaranteed AFLW license for the 2022/2023 season.
Kennett had spoken previously on SEN Breakfast saying he expected the Hawks to miss out on entry in 2021/2022, but assumed they would join the following year.
The AFL today announced a full 18-team AFLW competition would be in place by 2023/2024, with Hawthorn, Essendon, Port Adelaide and Sydney having the opportunity to join a year earlier pending AFL approval of their proposal.
Kennett expressed his frustration on SEN’s Dwayne’s World on Thursday.
“The whole reason for being, why we handed over responsibility to administer the code, was to respect the clubs and to treat us equally,” the Hawthorn president said.
“This is discrimination. It’s unacceptable.
“They’re a world unto themselves, they’re a law unto themselves and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“There’s no guarantee (that we enter the club for 2022/2023), and that’s the trouble. And you can’t plan. Running an organisation professionally, you’ve got to plan and what I thought was going to happen was we were going to be introduced into the program at the end of next year.
“That’s not necessarily going to happen now. If we were going to be admitted, then we need to prepare. We’re a professional organisation. You can’t just say ‘yes, no, stop, go, all the time.
“It is so, so disappointing and I feel so bad for our VFLW women. We’ve got no certainty, no clarity and the AFL just thinks they’re not worthy of entry.
“I can understand why the other 14 clubs don’t want the other four clubs admitted because they want the focus on them and the opportunity for them to get the sponsorships and build up the quality of their teams, but that’s just not fair. It’s just not right.”
Kennett confirmed his club would still go through the process, before a final decision is made by AFL HQ later in 2021.
“Of course we’ll have to go through the bloody process. How bureaucratic is that. The AFL knows all of our finances. All clubs have to report on a regular basis. We’re an unassisted club. We’re financially sound. We’re organisationally well positioned. We’re a training ground for many other clubs. They know us inside and out,” he said.
“This concept of reapplying. They’re worse than the bloody Andrews government.”
Hawthorn twice previously had opportunities to put their hand up for an AFLW license.
In both 2016 and 2018 they opted not to apply before joining the VFL Women’s competition.