Port Adelaide Power football club chairman and television host David Koch has criticised legendary premiership-winning coach Mick Malthouse for calling on the Australian Football League (AFL) to stop playing its annual matches in China in light of the pandemic.
Koch, who recently said discussions were needed about the future of the China-based fixtures amid the pandemic, took offense and told Fox Footy Live that Malthouse had “zero relevance in any of this.”
“With comments like that, if it was up to Mick Malthouse he’d bring back the white Australia policy in the 50s,” he added. “In this regard, he’s a bit of a dinosaur.”
The “White Australia policy” was a long-running policy that aimed to restrict non-white migrants to Australia, and allowed the deportation of migrants deemed “undesirable.”
Malthouse said he was “very disappointed” by Koch but said the comments were “water off a duck’s back.”
“I’ve never raised an issue with the Chinese people but I have a fundamental problem with people from the 30s in Europe (which was the other extreme) and the people in China who do not allow freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and quite frankly hide everything that goes bad. Which we are seeing now,” Malthouse told ABC radio’s Grandstand on May 9.
He said the world is “paying a penalty” for the Chinese regime’s mishandling of the outbreak.
“The fact is, the virus has come from China there’s no denying that,” he said.
Malthouse said had he made his comments in China he would have been “locked away and probably never heard of again. That’s the sort of country that we are dealing with.”
Malthouse doesn’t think the AFL should go to a “communist place” and thinks “we are a little bit more than the chewing gum stuck on the bottom of their shoe.”
“Kochie can say whatever he likes,” Malthouse said.
“But don’t deny the fact that you’re playing in China, you’re playing for money. You’re not playing to convert the Chinese into playing football. You’re going over there for money,” he said.