Petition against the AFL

Edit: Hi all, I have changed the name of the thread to hopefully get more attention for the petition.

We have only 131 signatures so far. If you could please take a second to go on and sign the petition, it would be greatly appreciated.

And many thanks to those who have signed.


Hi all

This post is to ask for advice for getting Telstra and the AFL to provide closed captioning and transcription for all their videos and podcasts on their website and to allow all the AFL clubs to do the same thing on their websites.

Anyway, so all the AFL clubs’ domains are owned/run by Telstra. That is why I have drafted a letter for both the AFL the Telstra. And I am planning to do a petition.

It would be great if I could email both the CEOs directly but obviously that won’t happen, so I am also looking for suggestions on how to get their attention on this matter.

Below is my drafted letter (any feedback would be greatly appreciated!)

To the AFL and Telstra

My name is ----- ------- and I am deaf who, just like many Australians, is a big fan of Aussie Rules football.

My disability does not have be excluding; all I need is accessibility and I am not disabled anymore. For example, at a train station, there is a device with captions that tells you when the train is coming, and whether it is on express or not. This means I am not missing out on the announcements, usually made through a speaker.

I play footy and I am never disabled on the field because the umpire uses signals. Football is a visual game; I do not need to hear the whistle to know when the play has stopped.

However, when it comes to the AFL Media, I am completely disabled. There is no closed captioning on the videos or transcripts for the podcasts.

I am not the only who suffers the lack of access in the AFL Media; there are 3.6 million Australians who are affected by hearing loss.

Subtitles do not have to be for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or experiencing hearing loss. There are more than 2 million Australians with dyslexia, more than 500,000 whose first language is not English. Subtitles also help people with brain injury. It is also beneficial for native English speaking Australians who can turn the sounds off and watch videos on their phones without disturbing others. It would help them with their spelling too.

So, I ask you to take this issue seriously and do something about it immediately.

The short-term solution is (for the AFL), firstly, to use the closed captioning program on each social media network such as YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The cost is free - for more information about how to closed caption, please see the links:



Twitter: (please note the Twitter doesn’t do closed captioning, only open captioning).

Secondly, AFL can send a memo to all the AFL clubs’ media team regarding closed captioning and request that all of them caption their videos, and transcribe their podcasts.

However, I believe that because of the digital media rights, all the AFL clubs are not allowed to upload all their content on social media. Millions of Australians need this to be amended until the AFL websites are fully accessible if this is the case.

Both the AFL and Telstra have publicly declared that they are committed to being accessible and inclusive for people from every walk of life, so I trust that you will respond with action for the sake of millions of Australians who rely on accessibility, and make watching your videos more convenient for everyone.

I look forward to your reply.

Kind regards



Perfectly reasonable and easy to implement request as far as I am concerned.

I believe that as a supporter/fan/admirer of AFL, we all deserve the basic right of being able to understand/interpret/absorb all forms and aspects of our game until our hearts content.

Your request doesn’t hinder or effect any other person negatively IMO and I think only improves our experience as fans as a whole.

I’m actually quite disappointed that something like this hasn’t been put in place far earlier in a day and age where technology and accessibility is supposed to be at its peak.

You get a petition happening and I would be more than willing to give my support and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one!


This and This


I think it is a well crafted letter, although I suggest that as an alternative to doing something “immediately”, ( which might sound threatening) you say something like “at the earliest technical opportunity by the start of the season”.
In terms of strategy, I suggest you copy to your local member State and Federal, Senators, State and Federal Ministers for Sport and Ministers responsible for disability access, plus whoever looks after Telstra.
Also, if you are an EFC member, why not try to persuade your club to support you?
I assume you would be getting up a petition through Change.
In the event you get knock backs, you might want to copy correspondence to selected journos - the Hun in particular loves hitting on the AFL.


Might be worth also getting in touch with an association for deaf/hearing impaired and see if they can throw some support behind this. I agree, it is long overdue and kind of surprising (and disappointing) it doesn’t already exist.

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Good luck with this!

(Though when you find out how those d!ckhead commentators prattle on about crap, you may regret it).


All good suggestions above to follow up. You should include the CEOs of the AFL clubs. As bigallan suggested, contact Essendon directly, as it could help by having a club back your cause. Maybe our resident board member on BB can guide you on who to approach.

Your request makes sense, and the question for the AFL/Telstra is why isn’t it being done?

All the best with this dbeas.

p.s. a typo in opening sentence: My disability does not have to be excluding;

Thanks for the feedback! That is a great idea, I’ll do that this afternoon.

@Catherine_Lio has been very supportive and helpful - because of her, a few clips are subtitled. Unfortunately, because of the digital media rights, the clubs can’t upload all their content on YouTube or other social media platforms - those platforms allow users to caption videos. So, this is why I am taking this directly to the AFL and Telstra.

That is a definitely good idea, I’ll see what I can do. And thanks for the correction!

I’ll try to get the petition up and running by tonight, watch this space!

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Heh, I am so used to it that it does not bother me anymore. Thanks though!

Go you good thing!

An afterthought: You could also put an inquiry to the ACC - there are forms on its site.

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Good suggestion.

Hi all, I have finally set up the petition!

If you could share this with your friends and colleagues, it’d be greatly appreciated!

Many thanks for your help!


Is Closed Captioning appropriate for dyslexic people? I thought that was a reading disorder.

I can’t give you the right answer but my understanding is that when they are reading, they can understand what is being read because they are also hearing what is being read - hope that makes sense?

Football is closed captioned on Foxtel, so the captioning is available, although in real time, it’s often wrong.

My dad watches everything with closed captions, being a lot mutt’n’jeff…and 96 yo.

Yes but it is not available on the AFL websites.

And Foxtel doesn’t always closed caption their shows - my wild guess is only about 70-80% of the shows/movies are captioned.

Live captioning in Australia is definitely the worst.

@Alan_Noonan_10 For your info:


Hi all, I have changed the name of the thread to hopefully get more attention for the petition.

We have only 131 signatures so far. If you could please take a second to go on and sign the petition, it would be greatly appreciated.

And many thanks to those who have signed.


Signed and passed it on, last time I looked, up to 135

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