AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has just announced that Sunday’s game between the Adelaide Crows and Geelong will be cancelled and the points split “as a mark of respect to Phil Walsh”. The other seven games in round 14 will proceed.
The decision comes after Crows coach Phil Walsh was killed early this morning in an alleged domestic dispute at his home. His 26-year-old son has been charged with murder by South Australian police.
“Our game is in mourning today,” McLachlan said. “The sorrow and the stress felt today touches many in our industry.”
“It is not fair to ask the young men of the Adelaide Crows or the Geelong Cats to play in these circumstances.”
The CEO offered his deepest sympathies to Walsh’s family and friends, offering the support of the AFL, and paid tribute to Walsh as “a man of energy, enthusiasm and great intelligence”.
“He was part of the AFL family for 32 years, and there are not many words of comfort today for those who feel this terrible loss in these most difficult of circumstances.”
While the other games will proceed and a minute’s silence for Walsh will be held at the MCG tonight when Collingwood meets Hawthorn, McLachland said “we know that the usual fun and passion of our game will not be there”.
The Adelaide Football Club said it welcomed the decision, saying its focus at this point was on the welfare of everyone involved.
Crows chairman Rob Chapman described Walsh as “a great bloke”.
“The outpouring of support and condolences we’ve seen right across the country today is testament to his profound impact on the game over a long period of time,” Chapman said.
“We believe the AFL has made the right decision for the football community. We’d also like to thank the Geelong Football Club for their understanding and support of this decision.”
The club’s scheduled SANFL game against South Adelaide on Saturday afternoon has been postponed until later in the season. These matches will be rescheduled for Round 17 which is a split round.