PORT Adelaide president David Koch will lead a campaign to restore heritage rounds to the AFL calendar - ands vows the fight to wear the club's traditional black-and-white bars will continue until the fans' wish is answered.
Koch declared at the SA Press Club Showdown luncheon in Adelaide on Friday he would push for heritage round to be restored - after being packed away in 2008 - at the next AFL meeting with club presidents.
"This is not going away," said Koch on the eve of Showdown XLIX at Adelaide Oval where Port Adelaide supporters will declare their passion for the club's heritage jumper by making it their derby uniform on the terraces on Saturday evening.
Port Adelaide's request - described as "fair" by AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan - to wear the black-and-white bars in Showdowns, both home and away, was last week knocked back by the AFL while the league executive awaits a new agreement between the Port Adelaide and Collingwood football clubs.
Koch ruled out Port Adelaide defying the league ruling at the risk of losing premiership points or being fined.
"I respect the competition too much," Koch said.
But Koch will not back off fulfilling the fans' clear-cut wish for the traditional club jumper becoming a "special occasion" guernsey for the derby.
"We will continue to apply to wear (the bars jumper) as our 'special purpose' jumper every year," Koch said. "It is not going away.
"The Port Adelaide fans don't need any encouragement from me (to make a protest by wearing the bars in the crowd at Adelaide Oval). That passion is all through the club."
Koch noted one of the greatest lessons for sport during the COVID pandemic was the need to listen to the fans - and to take up their causes.
"In this COVID era, you must respect heritage; this is what clubs are built on," Koch said. "That is why I am going to the next presidents meeting to start the push for the AFL to bring back heritage rounds."
Koch dismissed former Collingwood president Eddie McGuire's threat to take the long-standing impasse on Port Adelaide's traditional jumper to court on a trademark debate.
"I have done a fair bit of research on trademarks recently," Koch said. "The AFL clubs don't own the trademarks (on team names, nicknames and jumper colours). The AFL own it. And you can't trademark two primary colours."
Koch was flanked by new Adelaide Football Club chairman John Olsen at the SA Press Club where the Crows leader declared he would add a sequel to the bars jumper debate by blocking Port Adelaide's plan to wear the black-and-white guernsey at Showdowns hosted by Adelaide.
Olsen said he was reflecting "the clear view of the membership base" at Adelaide.
"You think a president can veto what a visiting team wears?" responded Koch.
"Yes," said Olsen.
On other key issues, Koch revealed Port Adelaide:
WILL clear $2 million of debt this season. Koch added he preferred his club to have a line of credit with the AFL - rather than a bank - because "the league understands football" and the needs of the clubs.
CHINA remains on Port Adelaide's agenda. Koch expects the Port Adelaide Football Club to play a major role in connecting Australia and China in trade relations after the COVID pandemic ends.
WOULD prefer to remain aligned to the SANFL. "But it makes it very hard when you don't get invited to the women's competition," Koch said. "The SANFL rules differ from those of the AFL. There are limitations on who you can have play in the SANFL.
"It does make it difficult to be part of the competition you helped as a foundation club. If the rules get to the point where Port Adelaide is further disadvantaged, if it does get much harder, you do have to ask why (stay in the SANFL)."