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Racism class action filed against AFL

A landmark class action has been filed against the Australian Football League (AFL), alleging it failed to protect its players from racial vilification and discrimination.

North Melbourne great Phil Krakouer is leading the lawsuit, which represents Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people of colour who, between 1975 and 2022, were employed as players and officials, and experienced racism, racial vilification, racial discrimination, racial abuse and/or victimisation in the course of their employment.

Six other players, who wish to remain anonymous, have joined the action, with more expected to join.

The class action was filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Friday by Margalit Injury Lawyers.

“It has been alleged that (amongst other things) the AFL failed to enforce and implement rules and policies to prohibit racial vilification,” the firm said in a statement.

“It is also alleged that the AFL permitted racial vilification to occur without punishment or penalty and failed to provide a safe (including a culturally safe) environment.”

Krakouer, 63, who played 141 games for the Kangaroos and seven for Footscray (now the Western Bulldogs), said racism “had been swept under the carpet for too long”.

“For decades, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and people of colour have been racially abused while playing AFL, and we feel the AFL sat back and watched it all go by,” he said in a statement.

The AFL has yet to officially comment. The league is already facing a class action, launched in March, which is seeking up to $1 billion in compensation for more than 60 players affected by concussion injuries.

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