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SBD Global/March 3, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou To Step Down After 11 Seasons

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou says 'time is right' to step down.
Australian Football League CEO Andrew Demetriou "will leave his position" at the end of the '14 season, according to Denham & Walsh of THE AUSTRALIAN. Demetriou held a press conference Monday morning in Melbourne with AFL Commission Chair Mike Fitzpatrick to announce that "the time was right to move on." Demetriou has been in the role since '03. Demetriou said he had informed Fitzpatrick of his decision about a month ago while they were in the U.S. attending the NFL’s Super Bowl. Demetriou: "I’ve always said it was a privilege and an honour to serve the game. I also believe the time is right. The growth of the game has been extraordinary. It’s been a wonderful journey full of challenges but I wouldn’t have it any other way" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/3). The AAP reported the AFL has "hired a company to conduct the search for Demetriou’s replacement," with his deputy Gillon McLachlan "expected to be a contender" (AAP, 3/3).

LASTING LEGACY: In Melbourne, Will Brodie reported Fitzpatrick said that Demetriou had been a "significant force in our competition" and had presided over "a period of extraordinary growth." Fitzpatrick: "For me, the real strength in Andrew's leadership hasn't been in stadia, he has been the conscience of the game, promoting the importance of women .. multi-cultural aspects ... he has put fans and players first. Andrew has been the first in Australia sport -- after the racing industry -- to deliver an integrity unit. In summary, Andrew has been one of the most influential CEOs in our history." Demetriou said that he considers the introduction of the two expansion teams, and the return of football to the revamped Adelaide Oval "as two of the great achievements of his decade at the top" (THE AGE, 3/3).

'TUMULTOUS' TIMES: In Sydney, Jon Ralph reported the announcement "comes after another tumultous weekend for the code," which saw the Sunday Herald Sun "reveal the names of Essendon players involved in the club’s supplements scandal." When asked if the weekend’s events had any influence over the timing of the announcement, Demtriou replied: “None whatsoever ... we (Fitzpatrick and I) both started talking about this in 2012. We got together in New York and we agreed the start of March would be the right time (to announce it) ... I think it’s part of good governance.” Demetriou said that he hoped the year-long anti-doping saga surrounding Essendon "would not taint his legacy." Demetriou: “That will be for others to judge.’’ Demetriou leaves with a reputation "as the man who bedded down the two new expansion clubs, but has been heavily damaged by recent scandals, including Adelaide’s salary cap rorting." He famously said that "tanking never existed, and has admitted he should have been more involved in negotiations over Essendon’s supplements penalty." When Demetriou succeeded Wayne Jackson, that decision "was also made public early in the season before the AFL Commission searched for replacements ahead of Jackson’s September departure" (HERALD SUN, 3/3).
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