The AFL has mysteriously dropped a plan to provide free childcare at all matches in 2019. The Watsonia Bugle can reveal that, in an attempt to increase attendance at games next season, the league had mapped out a detailed plan to have purpose-built childcare facilities at all games next year but, late last week, swiftly dropped the plan — stating “staffing issues” as the reason such an initiative would be financially unsustainable.

While most staff at AFL House are remaining tight-lipped about the rapid about turn, one insider broke ranks to speak to us about the abandoned plan. They said, “It was real strange. For the last four months we’ve had one of those little committees working on changes to the game, and they’d suggested free childcare as a way of boosting attendance numbers and getting young parents back to the footy. Rooms were being refitted, and Gil was personally putting together a team of nannies to staff the venues. He said he had a way of supplying cheaper childcare but he wouldn’t go into specifics.”

But the insider claims the plans were abruptly scrapped late last week. They said, “All of a sudden we get this real brief memo from the boss saying that ‘Due to unforeseen changes to immigration laws, our previous plan of going offshore to supply nannies for our childcare program is no longer a viable option.’ And that was it. No correspondence to be entered into. No nothing. The whole program has been scrapped.”

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