Alexander responds to Perth stadium criticism

Department of Sport Director General Ron Alexander has responded to recent criticism with an open letter addressed to WAFL clubs.

Alexander was targeted after a West Australian article highlighted comments about the transition of WA football into the new Perth stadium at Burswood. The ex-WAFL ruckman was published stating;
“I don’t think it’s really appropriate to have the Sandover Medal Walk here,” Alexander said.
“The Sandover Medal is now basically out of a reserves competition.”
- Department of Sport | Director General| Ron Alexander
The West Australian. Sunday, 27th of February.

Since the comments Alexander found it fitting to address the backlash in an open letter to all concerned with the upcoming transition of WA Football.  
It reads as follows.

I write to you collectively to clarify my views about the importance of recognising the rich history of WA football at the new Perth stadium and to address some of my inadvertent comments in last week’s article.

I want to reassure you that ALL options to showcase WAFL footy memorabilia at the new Perth stadium are still on the table – including the Sandover Medal Walk – and all options are still being discussed by our sporting memorabilia reference group, led by Ronnie Hurst.

Only last week, the WAFC presented an excellent submission to the Sporting Memorabilia Reference Group. At that meeting, Ronnie outlined the room naming strategy and confirmed that all WAFL Champions and Legends will be duly recognised at the new stadium. He did, however, confirm that he couldn’t exactly state where and how they would be recognised at this point in time because discussions are still continuing.

I also want to state that I believe the WAFC has done a good job of recognising our past great WAFL players and great WAFL games at Subiaco Oval. The point I was endeavouring to make – but didn’t do a very good job of – is modern technology will allow us to take the recognition of our great game to a new level via the 25 separate opportunities that exist at the new stadium. I can assure you all that due recognition of our WAFL Sandover Medallist, past great administrators, past great players and great highlights of past WAFL games will play a big part in the footy memorabilia that is ultimately showcased at the new stadium.

Subiaco's Matt Priddis putting his name into the Sandover Medal Walk in 2006.

The vision for recognising football at the new stadium is about bringing the stories, personalities and famous WAFL games to life through the use of new and cutting edge technology. The technology will provide us with far greater opportunities and spaces at the new stadium, ensuring we duly recognise the rich heritage of Western Australian football for fans in the future.
I also want to apologise for the one-off reference to the WAFL competition being “second rate”. It is not. It was said in the context of the WAFL being a “second tier” to the AFL competition. Unfortunately, although I expressed the term “second tier” a number of times in such a short piece, much of the context couldn’t be included. I would be disappointed if people honestly believe that I could denigrate the WAFL given my time, commitment and opportunities that I’ve had at the WAFL. I clearly recognise the WAFL is a quality competition that provides a pathway for our younger players to feed into the AFL and it is an undeniable part of history of football in WA.

We understand that WAFL football is a crucial and continuing part of our football landscape in Western Australia. I have always said football and the government are “invested” in achieving mutual success and I can guarantee that my colleagues and I are working hard to ensure the success of football transitioning to the new stadium, at the same time as representing the wider community interests.

We are wirking with the WAFC and with all of the WAFL Presidents and CEO’s to deliver a good outcome for football in Western Australia, both for today and the future.

Yours sincerely

Ron Alexander
Director General

3 March 2017 

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