Editor’s Desk: Access to sport is one thing Aussies can rival the Poms on whingeing about

Headshot of Kate Campbell
Kate CampbellGeraldton Guardian
Aerial photo of Optus Stadium during the Grand Final 2021
Camera IconAerial photo of Optus Stadium during the Grand Final 2021 Credit: Simon Hydzik/7NEWS/Simon Hydzik/7NEWS

The poor Poms usually get pigeon-holed as those best at the art of whingeing.

And probably for good reason.

You may or may not have seen in the news this week that the UK has recorded its hottest-ever temperature in a heatwave that locals seems to think is heralding the end of days.

So what was the record-breaking temperature? 40.3C. It was the first time they broke through the 40C barrier.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


Cue the groans from the hardened and sun-burnt Aussies. In our part of the world, 40.3C is a regular summer’s day. What about Geraldton’s Christmas Day scorcher last year of 47C, or the 50.7C recorded in Onslow earlier this year?

But sticking up for the precious Poms for a minute here, most people — regardless of where they are from — are good at whingeing about something, as long as they feel strongly enough about it.

In Australia, we whinge freely and frequently about anything sport-related.

We’re all armchair critics even though the majority of us haven’t played any sport beyond our school days. Which team or athlete we love to hate, what results we disagree with, how many decisions the umpires got wrong and confusion and controversy over rule changes, just to name a few.

But in one case we have a right to whinge, rant and rave.

This week it emerged the next broadcasting deal for the AFL might force Perth and Adelaide fans to pay to watch their home teams, rather than on free-to-air. It could give Foxtel, majority owned by News Corp, a bigger, or even exclusive, slice of the pie.

This rightly has sparked furore, with most people — from ordinary fans, media commentators, coaches and club bosses — all calling for these games to remain on free-to-air TV.

The potential move has been called “unAustralian” and violating a “human right”.

No, we’re not talking about war crimes here, but the very essence of sport — even though it’s a multi-billion dollar industry these days — boils down to one thing — the fans.

Fans are the ones who fill up the stadiums, who pay for memberships, pay TV or streaming services if they can afford them, who decide the TV ratings, who buy the merchandise.

You get where I’m going with this. The business of sport would be nothing without fans, so why shouldn’t something be sacrosanct for the fans?

And top of that list should be to watch your favourite team on free-to-air.

To remove that right would be akin to giving a mass section of fans a big slap in the face and giving them a big reason to switch off.

Before this issue threatens to boil over, I truly hope common sense and cool heads prevail.

It would be such a shame to see no Eagles or Dockers games shown on free TV going forward, especially in the current climate when cost-of-living pressures mean for many households such luxuries as Foxtel or Kayo simply can’t be squeezed into the tight budget.

Whinge over.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails