North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley. Picture: AAP Images
North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley. Picture: AAP Images

‘Bloody disappointing’: Top Roo slams Tassie rumours

North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley has savaged speculation his club could relocate amid the fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

"It's bloody disappointing,'' Buckley told the Herald Sun.

"That's rumour-mongering which is unnecessary, unwarranted and has no basis.

"You know my views very strongly, we're a Melbourne-based team.

"Any speculation is complete nonsense, is not on the agenda, is not being discussed and won't be discussed.''

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan refused to join the discussion on the speculation of a potential relocation of an AFL team, or a merger of teams as football confronts its own financial crisis.

On Monday night, Channel 9 posted an article with the headline: AFL powerbrokers in favour of relocating North Melbourne amid financial crisis.

 

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The suggestion was high-placed figures at the AFL, as well as club presidents and chief executives, believed the Kangas should relocate to Tasmania.

McLachlan said on SEN: "We're going into this with 18 clubs and we'll go out with 18 clubs.

"That's our commitment over the next four, six, eight, 10 months (however long it takes to get back to playing).

"Right now our task is to preserve revenue streams, cut costs … so when we can restart … (we restart) with 18 teams.''

He later clarified to the Herald Sun that relocation had not been discussed during this crisis and that the 18 teams would return in the same structure.

Buckley reiterated the long-held club's position, declaring relocation was not an option.

He said the issue had not been raised in meetings with clubs and the AFL.

Ben Brown celebrates a Round 1 goal for the Roos. Picture: Getty Images
Ben Brown celebrates a Round 1 goal for the Roos. Picture: Getty Images
 

 

"I have never had one president discuss it with me, I've never had one CEO discuss it with myself, it's never been discussed with the AFL, it's just speculation,'' he said.

"It really is inaccurate, it's unhelpful, and I guess it's a sign of the times that there's too many other things to talk about rather than what's going on the field.

"I would say to all supporters to ignore those discussions.''

He said the Kangas had reduced their debt from $9 million to almost zero and although there were challenges ahead, the club "would get through it''.

"I feel as positive as I can be given the circumstances,'' Buckley said.

"We are working through all the issues like everyone else is.

"It's challenging times, but I think the work we've done over the past 10 years, where we've reduced our debt to almost zero, we've worked very effectively.

"We feel with the right policies in place we'll come through this as well as anyone else will.''

Last week, Gold Coast president Tony Cochrane also lashed out at former coach Ross Lyon's comments that the Suns could go into hibernation while the league recovers from the crippling shutdown.

Originally published as 'Bloody disappointing': Top Roo slams Tassie rumours


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