News.co.au article The AFL is hoping to move forward with plans to merge the two leagues into one after the league’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the merger proposal in November.
The AFL will consider its options to make the announcement this week, with chairman Josh Barnett predicting the merger would be done by the end of the year.
“The merger would provide a new opportunity for the game, it would create a new industry for the sport, it will deliver an even better product to the players and fans,” Mr Barnett said.
The announcement comes amid growing speculation about the future of the AFL and the future structure of the game.
In March, the AFL announced it would not be moving forward with a merger with the AFLW, citing a desire to focus on the AFL.AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said at the time the league would not move forward without a strong financial return from its new partnership with the league.
“There’s going to be a great amount of pressure from both sides to make sure we’re all on the same page,” Mr McLachl said at that time.
The merger with an AFLW would provide an opportunity for both leagues to expand their businesses.
“We want to expand our market in the North West, we want to grow in Australia, and that’s the next stage for us to get on and make sure that the game is as successful as it can be,” Mr Lough said at a media conference in March.
The game was not the only industry the AFL has discussed in recent weeks.
The league has also been in talks to expand its AFLW operations, but those discussions have been delayed.
The league has been in discussions with former Western Bulldogs star Scott Pendlebury and Melbourne midfielder Josh Kennedy about the possibility of playing in the AFL, but the talks have not progressed as expected.
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