Free-To-Air Sport For All Aussies, Akermanis Again

Stephen Conroy gets a pat on the back and Jason Akermanis has put his foot in it again.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has successfully managed to secure the free-to-air television rights of both AFL and NRL codes for Australians nationwide.

New reforms now all the minister the power to declare the number of games that will be shown on public television against the number shown on pay TV.

"For example, the minister may declare that an eight-match round of the NRL premiership season is a quota group, with a quota number of three. This would mean that subscription television broadcasters could acquire the exclusive rights of up to five matches of this round," explained the Senator.

Under the new legislation, dubbed “anti-siphoning” laws, free-to-air TV stations will be offered the broadcast rights to major sporting events so that they will be accessible to all Australians. Regular sporting matches and events must now be shown on free-to-air TV within four hours of the event beginning and when these two options are not selected by free-to-air stations, only then the rights to such events will be given to pay TV providers.

But this wasn’t even the biggest news surrounding the football world today. Former AFL star Jason Akermanis was released from his part-time gig on a Queensland radio station where he was employed as a football expert after making some insensitive remarks about the late football legend Jim Stynes, who passed away earlier in the week.

The controversial Akermanis said of Stynes on Mix FM, he "was a nasty man in his day. He had a nice turn of phrase and he made sure you knew how he felt."

"He got a state funeral – do all football players get a state funeral? There's something about it all that just made me feel uncomfortable. Jim's good, but is he that good?"

Akermanis apologized profusely in a statement today saying, "I feel terrible … I can't say sorry enough."

"In reality, my feelings are quite the opposite and I just didn't express my thoughts, feelings and words very well."

"I hope that you will forgive my stupidity and insensitivity displayed in not expressing my thoughts properly, and therefore my words have been taken out of context."