Study: No legroom to AFL travel concerns

FootyA statistical comparison by La Trobe University sports economist, Liam Lenten, ‘seriously questions’ claims that the controversial change last year in the AFL’s official carrier airline from Qantas to rival Virgin Blue has greatly disadvantaged travelling teams.

The finding emerges from an evaluation of player fatigue, comparing results of all matches in 2011 in which interstate travel was involved, with outcomes of similar games over the life of the Qantas deal, from 2002 to 2010.

Dr Lenten says he carried out the study because of complaints by many stakeholders at the time over the AFL abandoning its sponsorship of Qantas.

Most vocal, he says, were the two Perth-based teams. They criticised the AFL for insufficient consultation with clubs and players, saying it would create a greater physical toll on the players due to Virgin’s (claimed) more restricted flight schedule, and reduced legroom in the premium sections of their aircraft.

‘Outgoing Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett was, as customary, also scathing of the AFL’s decision-making process, particularly on the player welfare issue,’ says Dr Lenten.

‘Now that the deal is one-year old, data is available for number-crunching,’ he says.

While it’s impossible from this to judge the precise impact of the alternative carrier, it is sufficient to ‘seriously question any claim that the change in carrier should greatly disadvantage travelling teams relative to previously,’ says Dr Lenten.

See the attached report of his full comments on the study.

Dr Liam Lenten
Phone: 03 9479 3607