Port Adelaide chairman David Koch has launched a scathing attack on former coach Mick Malthouse over his view of the AFL’s China experiment.
Malthouse called on the AFL to boycott China, pinning the blame for the coronavirus pandemic on the east Asian nation.
As things stand Port Adelaide is contracted to play at Shanghai’s Jiangwan Stadium next year against St Kilda, with this season’s match in China cancelled due to the pandemic.
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Koch took offence at the comments, labelling the premiership coach as having “zero relevance” on the issue.
“Mick Malthouse has zero expertise, so zero relevance,” he said on Fox Footy Live.
“If Mick Malthouse made a comment on footy I’d give it a glancing look, when it comes to China, absolutely no relevance at all.
“Remember why we did China. China is aimed at making sure this club has the final resources to have a fully funded football program. The business running an AFL club is about having a whole different income streams not based on the results of the football club.
“(We have) 37 per cent of Australia’s experts go to China. Using football as a way to build a bridge with China has been very important.
“Mick Malthouse doesn’t know what he’s talking about. If it was up to Mick Malthouse, he’d bring back the White Australia policy in the 50s.
“In this regard, he is a bit of a dinosaur, because China… it is important to keep that bridge built from a community and business level We play an important role in that and will into the future. Both ourselves and the AFL have full time staff up there.”
Kochie extended a branch to Malthouse, suggesting he should come to China to be “blown away” like other Melbourne media people who have attended the games in the past.
Shortly after Koch’s stance on Fox Footy, Malthouse responded on radio.
“I am very disappointed … those comments are very, very offline for a start,” he said on ABC Perth.
“Money speaks, and we know it does, and that’s what I’m saying about the AFL at the moment.
“They’ve got a wonderful opportunity – particularly the commission – to settle in on where you want (the game) without the massive money coming into it, what does football look like?
“It’s an Australian game – it’ll last forever. Make no mistake. It may not have 18 sides, it may not have the amount of money going into it, but it’ll remain because we love our game.
“We’ve got to get our game in order. I don’t think taking the game out of Australia, particularly to a communist place that gives us absolutely no respect … Kochie can say whatever he likes. But they are there for one reason only, and to deny it is ridiculous.”
Port has played three games at the venue since 2017, and the Power and the Saints reportedly made $1 million each from last year’s clash.