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AFL signs with Colgate, plans for June restart

Orla O'Dwyer of the Lions is tackled by Kerryn Harrington of the Blues during the AFLW Semi Final match (by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

The Australian Football League has agreed a sponsorship deal with toothpaste brand Colgate, and announced plans to rejig its match schedule as it aims for a June restart.

Colgate has signed as an Official Partner of the AFL and women’s league the AFLW. The brand is being referred to as the “Official Smile” of the AFL, and will also be a supporting partner of the annual AFL Draft and children’s intiative AFL Auskick.

Players Tayla Harris and Eddie Betts are Colgate ambassadors under the deal, selected as “leaders amongst their communities who both remain focused on the betterment of themselves in order to positively influence others”. Harris, who is also a professional boxer, features in a piece of video content created for the partnership, which tells her life story and how she has become an inspiration for young female players.

In the press release announcing the deal, Anthony Crewes, marketing director at Colgate, said, “We are particularly proud to be able to share stories from within its community, of resilience, optimism, and hope.

“The AFL unites so many communities, and we are passionate to help them reach their potential by providing pathway support and sharing the stories of the game’s role models with fans by celebrating how they Smile Strong.”

AFL general manager of commercial, Kylie Rogers, said, “We’re thrilled to announce Colgate as an Official Partner of the AFL, and during times such as this, Colgate’s commitment to supporting the AFL community is a great boost to our industry.

“While we aren’t currently playing football, Colgate’s commitment demonstrates how positive action can have a tremendous impact, and the belief in our code becomes a vehicle to amplify the positive sentiment amongst the many Australians we connect with every day.”

Restart plans

The AFL can only restart its season once Australia’s state governments align their social distancing and other lockdown measures – there are currently significant distances from state to state. The league plays games in all Australian states.

The 2020 season was suspended after one round of games. The league hopes to complete a shortened 144-game season beginning in June, with each team playing 17 games instead of their usual 22. Games will be played in empty stadiums.

Players are expected to return to training soon, but will train in groups of ten only until otherwise approved by the federal government.

If border restrictions are not lifted in the state of Western Australia, the Fremantle and West Coast teams in that state may relocate in order to restart matches.