AFL boss Gillon McLachlan announced on the weekend that St Kilda would play in New Zealand clash on Anzac Day, with the game to be broadcast into Australia at 11am.
Victorian head of the Returned and Services League major general David McLachlan told the Herald Sun yesterday had not been consulted by the AFL and was â€œdisappointedâ€ by the move.
He said veterans would still be marching at 11am before a 1pm commemorative service at the Shrine of Remembrance.
Next year marks the centenary of the Gallipoli landing on April 25, 1914, with 8709 Australians and 2701 New Zealanders dying in that campaign.
In total, 61,522 Australians lost their lives in World War I.
â€œAt 11am we are right in the middle of the march and that is where we should be focusing in my opinion,‘‘ McLachlan said.
â€œI have to say I am somewhat surprised they want to interfere. It is a vexed issue because we have got legislation in Victoria that precludes sporting activity of that nature before 1pm but I have had no conversation at all with the AFL about what they are doing in New Zealand.
â€œParticularly given it is the centenary of the Anzacs, it is a little disappointing. We have had an agreement that the march finishes and then we go to the football. That has the way it has been with football forever and a day.â€
It was only with the RSL‘s permission that Collingwood and Essendon built a tradition for an afternoon game that enhances the Anzac tradition.
AFL boss McLachlan said on Saturday the AFL had to play five games on Anzac Day and wanted clean air for the traditional Collingwood-Essendon clash.
â€œIt‘s also going to be huge because it‘s the centenary of Anzac Day,â€ he said.
â€œWe think we‘ll probably kick it off in New Zealand, which would come in to Australia at a very unusual time, probably about 11am and be done by the time our game here in Melbourne starts at the MCG.â€
The AFL could play four Sunday games or two twilight and two night games on Anzac Day.
Major General McLachlan said the 11am game couldn‘t be at a worse time.
â€œThe march starts off at 9am and will have been going for a couple of hours and it doesn‘t conclude until 12.45pm or thereabouts before the commemorative service,‘‘ he said.
â€œThe planning we are undertaking for Anzac Day (in 2015) is immense. It was very cold this year and we had 61,000 at the Shrine of Remembrance.
â€œI don‘t believe there would be any doubt we would get 100,000 there next year.â€
St Kilda is yet to be told who it will play in Wellington, which will feature its own Anzac Day commemorative services.
Pies boss Eddie McGuire has no issue with the 11am game, with St Kilda not returning calls last night.