Australian academics have described the country's rules football as racist, sexist and homophobic despite clubs and officials' efforts to change attitudes.
Participants attending a conference on the social and cultural aspects of football heard how players of migrant background were subjected to widespread racial vilification.
University of Melbourne PhD student Ciannon Cazaly, whose great uncle was football icon Roy Cazaly, told the conference players from migrant backgrounds had suffered "racism, violence, exclusion, parental resistance and financial disadvantage".
According to Fox Sports, delegates heard how Aboriginal players are still judged by their colour when in trouble; the AFL was slow to include women in club culture; and administrators failed to introduce programs to break down homophobia.
Christopher Hickey, of Deakin University, said the league had made advances in stamping out racism, but Aboriginal heritage always was mentioned when an indigenous player was in trouble off-field.
AFL boss Andrew Demetriou rejected the views.
"It sounds like they need to do more research to me," he said.
Dr Caroline Symons, a specialist in homophobia in sport, said: "The AFL consistently comes out on top as the sport gay people say they would like to play but cannot for a range of reasons." (ANI)