AFL boss Gillon McLachlan to STEP DOWN from CEO role at the end of the season after guiding code through the pandemic and fast-tracking AFLW
- AFL boss will make a formal announcement at 11.30am today
- He was instrumental in ensuring all clubs survived the Covid pandemic
- McLachlan also fast-tracked and grew the women’s AFLW competition
- He will leave the game in a strong financial state for his successor
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan will today announce that he is standing down from his post at the end of the season.
The AFL boss has achieved incredible feats in the game, including ensuring every club survived the Covid pandemic along with fast-tracking and growing the profile of the women’s AFL competition.
He is expected to make a formal announcement at 11.30am today.
AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan will announce that he is standing down at the end of the 2022 season today.
‘One day I will wake up and feel it’s time and who knows when that is?’ he told the Herald Sun earlier this year.
‘Our finances are going to be fine, we’ve got no debt, and we’ll make a good profit this year, so we’ve got through the financial element. Now it’s investment decisions to make around players, clubs, game development, infrastructure, and they will be made.
‘And it’s just getting the confidence back in the game. We’ve got to get people going again and we’ve got to get people playing again. We’ll have a good indication next week. We have to get out of our 5km bubbles and get back to the things that make this city, this country, our game great.’ McLachlan had previously signalled his intent to stand down before the Covid pandemic hit, when he then vowed to remain in the position and ensure that competition and all clubs survived.
He used the competition’s investment in Marvel Stadium to provide financial assurance for all clubs and oversaw the relocation of the competition to hubs in Queensland and South Australia – including the historic grand final at the Gabba in Queensland between Richmond and Geelong in 2020.
McLachlan, General Manager Competition Management Laura Kane, Emily Bates of the Lions, Head of Women’s Football AFL Nicole Livingstone and Chairman of the AFL Richard Goyder
Another legacy that McLachlan will leave is the AFLW competition that recently completed its sixth season. It was supposed to commence in 2020, which means it would have collided with the pandemic and ultimately might not have happened at all.
McLachlan insisted the competition be fast-tracked and it kicked off in 2017 instead, enjoying strong growth over its six years. The results were immediate, with the AFLW resulting in a 6.5 per cent growth of female participation across all levels from 2017 to 2018 and then a massive 14.2 per cent spike from 2018 to 2019.
The 2022 NAB AFLW Competition saw the 1 millionth fan pass through the turnstiles and the league has grown from eight teams to 14, with every club expected to have a professional women’s side in the near future.
Fox Footy and SEN journalist Gerard Whateley said the announcement was inevitable.
‘I don’t think it’s a great surprise that this would be (McLachlan’s) last season,’ he said.
‘I think coming into the pandemic there was a strong feeling that McLachlan felt his work was nearing it’s end and then a whole new set of circumstances arose.
McLachlan is expected to play an active role in choosing his successor. Candidates include Contenders football boss Andrew Dillon and fellow executive Travis Auld. Richmond chief Brendon Gale, who interviewed for the role eight years ago, is also in the running.
‘Internally I feel like the candidate that they have settled on is Travis Auld,’ Whateley said.
‘Don’t dismiss Andrew Dillon, and I’m not absolutely saying my information’s right, but I feel like late last year there was a move towards Travis Auld being the internal candidate.’
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