Think this is the appropriate thread for this article.
(whoever would have thought the AFL could be so shifty )
Major league thieves at AFL and NRL stole my ‘Final 8’ idea: inventor
December 23, 1999. Kim Crawford remembers it like it was yesterday.
The sports-loving PE teacher picked up his Hobart Mercury newspaper and, like he always did, went straight to the back pages.
Waiting there for him was a story on the AFL’s ‘new’ Final 8 system, one that he says he devised and proposed to the competition in 1994, only for the League to then reject it on the basis it was “flawed”.
There was no doubt in Crawford’s mind: this was his system, which mapped out how the finals series would work.
For the Tasmanian, it was a case of déjà vu. He had presented the same system to the NRL in 1995, which he claims they were, initially at least, very interested in.
Discussions between Crawford and the NRL stopped, though, before they introduced it for just one season in 1996, out of the blue.
The AFL have stuck with the system Crawford says he created since introducing it, while the NRL returned to the same formula in 2012 and have stayed true ever since.
Fed up with the failure of both the AFL and the NRL to recognise his work and re-name it the ‘Crawford Final 8 System’, he is now speaking out in a bid for justice, and is hopeful that the fact the issue was recently raised in Federal Parliament by Labor MP Brian Mitchell will help his cause.
“I was shocked and disappointed to see the AFL using it, without credit,” Crawford told The New Daily.
“National sporting leagues should be behaving a lot better.
“They expect high standards of players and clubs and we expect high standards of them.
“I don’t think the AFL and the NRL should be able to go on with the lie … there’s a lot of frustration.
“The AFL stole my system, dishonestly claimed it as their own, used it without permission, ignored my copyright, bullied me with threats of legal costs and continue to falsify their own history in regards to this matter.”
Crawford said he came up with the concept relatively quickly, and was motivated to do so because the AFL’s existing finals system, the McIntyre System, “looked a mess”.
It “failed badly in 1997”, he said, and he was buoyed by the “number of AFL clubs” who returned his letters and spoke favourably of his proposal.
Some clubs spoke out publicly, too, like Adelaide, with chief executive Bill Sanders describing the Crawford system as “much easier to understand” and “ideal” in the same Hobart Mercury article that then-AFL boss Wayne Jackson acknowledged a “system being proposed in Tasmania”, which was Crawford’s.
But in 1999, when the AFL introduced their new system, there was no credit for Crawford, who complained to the AFL, only to be told that if he pursued legal action, he would be liable for all costs if he lost, a statement that put him off.
‘This is just not right’
“He proposed this formula, they (the AFL) didn’t use it, and then out they come with an identical system,” politician Mitchell told The New Daily.
“A coincidence? What a crock of s**t. This is just not right.
“It’s a classic case of a powerful organisation sticking up its middle finger to a little bloke.”
In response to Crawford’s claims, the AFL told The New Daily: “There were multiple suggestions on this finals format to be introduced before it was eventually adopted when the AFL moved away from the McIntyre System.”
The NRL did not respond to requests for comment.
Crawford says the AFL is wrong – and he has “evidence to show I was the first to send it to them in 1994″.
Mitchell has called on the AFL to “swallow their ego” and fix the dispute, “ideally this year”, but Crawford, who just wants recognition, is not holding his breath.
“I just want both leagues to tell the truth. They need to do the right thing.”