North Melbourne chairman Ben Buckley says talk of relocation is “bloody disappointing’’.
The topic reared its ugly head after Caroline Wilson appeared on television last night spread unfounded speculation that North Melbourne was vulnerable to a move to Tasmania.
“That’s rumour-mongering which is unnecessary, unwarranted and has no basis,” Buckley said of Wilson’s comments.
“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.
“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.’’
Buckley’s stance in The Herald Sun was backed by AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan who 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.’’
The Herald Sun said McLachlan “later clarified relocation had not been discussed during this crisis and that the 18 teams would return in the same structure”.
Buckley said North would come out the other side of the pandemic.
“I feel as positive as I can be given the circumstances,’’ he added.
“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.’’