AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan denies the league’s commission is divided on the Adam Goodes controversy.
Amid growing media criticism of how the AFL hierarchy has handled the issue, chairman Mike Fitzpatrick has labelled Goodes an all-time great.
Fitzpatrick added he hopes to watch the Sydney star play on Saturday night against Geelong at Simonds Stadium.
The AFL Chairman’s statement on Monday followed a media report that said the commission was divided into three camps on the Goodes issue.
The report claimed one group feels that racism is a big part of crowds incessantly booing the indigenous star.
The second group is said to feel that racism is not a major factor in the abuse, while the third apparently is critical of Goodes’s conduct on and off the field.
That would reflect sharply-divided opinions nationally on the Goodes issue.
“Let me make this very clear – Adam Goodes has the unanimous support of the AFL Commission,” Fitzpatrick said in Monday’s media statement.
Later on Monday night, McLachlan also insisted the commission was united in regards to Goodes.
“I’m not going to talk obviously about commission meetings,” McLachlan told Channel Nine’s Footy Classified.
“All I will say is that the commission is united and I don’t think anyone in there is, as I think it’s being asserted, said this is Adam Goodes’s problem.
“There is not a divided commission on this issue.”
Swans coach John Longmire has said that Goodes will return to training on Tuesday and could play against the Cats.
A week after the Goodes racism controversy reignited, Fitzpatrick also called on fans to show respect for the two-time Brownlow Medallist.
“The booing of Adam Goodes may or may not have begun for other reasons, but the AFL Commission is of the view that this is about race and cannot be condoned at our games,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement.
“This is not what we stand for. The AFL, this most Australian of sports, stands for a fair go for all, men, women, black, white, Muslim, Asian.
“It is broad, inclusive and the most egalitarian of sports.
Fitzpatrick’s comments followed a similar statement last week from McLachlan.