Explosive twist in Eddie McGuire's spat with David Koch

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Eddie McGuire and David Koch are at odds again. Image: Getty

Eddie McGuire says he’s asked the AFL’s legal department to look into Port Adelaide’s renewed push to wear their controversial Prison Bar guernsey more often.

On Wednesday, Port Adelaide launched a petition for approval to wear the black and white strip in all future Showdowns against arch-rivals Adelaide.

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Port’s use of the guernsey has been rare over the years, with Collingwood boss McGuire irked by the similarities it bears to the Magpies’ strip.

Port wore the Prison Bars guernsey in their thumping win over the Crows last weekend, and club president David Koch is pushing for it to be worn more often.

However Collingwood has contractual rights that don’t allow Port to wear the colours, with McGuire only giving Koch’s club permission to wear it on special occasions.

McGuire took aim at Koch earlier this month over the push, calling him “disingenuous” and saying he “doesn’t have the guts to tell his supporters” the request is likely to be rejected.

However Koch has angered McGuire even further with the new petition, which has been signed by every living former Port Adelaide captain and had 18,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon.

Koch said the petition would be used in their formal submission to the AFL, however McGuire won’t back down.

“Port Adelaide signed a petition – it was called a contract. They signed it twice, coming into the competition and another one that’s got my signature and Gill McLachlan’s signature on it and the president of Port Adelaide,” McGuire said on Footy Classified on Wednesday night.

Hamish Hartlett and Brad Ebert in Port Adelaide's Prison Bar guernsey. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

“Earlier this year, we sat down in good faith, we shook hands, we wished them all the best and said ‘OK, one more go … for your home Showdown and that’s it’.

“Now their president, David Koch, didn’t come to that meeting. Their CEO (Keith Thomas) and one of their directors did, Cos Cardone, and we worked it out and we said ‘yep, that’s fine’.

“Now this is starting to become – I don’t know if Kochie’s decided this is going to be his big go to get his members on side, I don’t care – the AFL own the copyright.

“I’ve referred it now to the AFL chairman and to the CEO and to the legal department of the AFL. They must defend the copyright, because that is the central tenant of the Commission when we put them in place, otherwise they will be in breach of their own copyright and the constitution of the AFL.

“It’s a simple solution: They (the AFL) say ‘no’ and we move forward.

“If they (the Power) want to have a Prison Bar jumper without black and white, knock themselves out. Do it with teal. There’s ways around.”

Eddie McGuire and David Koch at the MCG in 2014. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

David Koch defends push to wear Prison Bar guernsey

On Wednesday Koch said his club are “not asking to be the Magpies in the AFL”.

“A football guernsey is more than a piece of cloth. It’s about identity, meaning, and purpose,” he said.

“This is why the traditional black-and-white Prison Bar guernsey is so important for our people.

“This guernsey represents who we are, and where generations of people and families who support Port Adelaide come from.

“And when you’re celebrating 150 years of tradition like we are, that’s important.

“At a time when clubs and competitions around the world are being reminded that they are nothing without their fans, why should Port Adelaide members, supporters and players be deprived of the opportunity to connect with something so important to them?

“We believe that every sports fan around the world will relate to what this is fundamentally about.

“It is about the power of fans and the passion and connection they have for their clubs.

“We don’t believe what we are asking for is unreasonable and we look forward to submitting our official proposal to the AFL soon.”