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JUMPER-PUNCH: Suns prevail over Port in China guernsey battle

Football

UPDATED | Gold Coast have come out on top in the bitter jumper spat with Port Adelaide after the AFL ruled the Suns can wear their home guernsey in China.

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The clubs were at loggerheads over Gold Coast’s intention to wear their home jumper – that matches the red and yellow of the Chinese flag – when they meet in Shanghai in round eight.

The Power paid for the rights to the Suns’ home game so they could host the historic clash for premiership points.

But in an oversight, that agreement doesn’t cover who wears what jumper, with the Power concerned the locals will throw their support behind the team that wears their national colours.

Port are hoping the game will be the start of a lucrative push into the Chinese market and outspoken president David Koch accused the Suns on Adelaide radio FIVEaa of playing “silly buggers” over the issue.

Koch previously threatened to exclude Gold Coast from future matches in China and called on the AFL to make a ruling.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan held out hope the clubs would sort it out between themselves when he addressed the issue in March, but ultimately the league sided with the Suns.

Gold Coast CEO Mark Evans said today he was surprised by Port’s reaction to the whole affair but is happy it’s been resolved well ahead of their clash on May 14.

“We were always of the belief we would wear our home guernsey or our away jersey as it’s of the same colouring,” Evans said.

“We’re pleased after all that it has been confirmed.”

“I’ve spoken to (Port Adelaide chief executive) Keith Thomas  and he needs to pass on to all the people at his club that we’re committed to make this a great event… then work out with the AFL for plans beyond this year.”

But Thomas was less diplomatic, alluding to the previous threats to seek a new partner for future China fixtures.

“It’s not ideal but this is only a one-year agreement with the Gold Coast,” he said.

Port Adelaide paid $500,000 for the rights to Gold Coast’s home game and Thomas told the AFL’s website he was disappointed with the outcome.

“We thought within the spirit of the commercial arrangement we had a strong case for the Gold Coast to wear their white clash guernsey but we accept the AFL’s decision and move on,” he said.

“The guernsey issue is a just a small component of a far bigger picture for Port Adelaide. This historic game is sold out, Jiangwan Stadium is going to be packed with our supporters wearing black, white and teal and we are at the forefront of the AFL in taking our game to China.

“This is going to be a truly great day in the history of the Port Adelaide Football Club and this decision on the Gold Coast guernsey will not change that.”

Port Adelaide will wear their predominantly black home jumper with white number panel.

The match at Jiangwan Stadium is sold out and expected to draw 11,000 people.

-AAP

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