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AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou to step down at the end of 2014 season

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Caroline Wilson dissects Andrew Demetriou's AFL legacy

Although Andrew Demetriou's decision to resign from one of the most "powerful jobs in Australian sport" was not a surprise, the timing of the announcement was, says chief football writer Caroline Wilson.

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The AFL 'needs a fresh set of eyes'... Andrew Demetriou at Monday's press conference.

The AFL 'needs a fresh set of eyes'... Andrew Demetriou at Monday's press conference. Photo: Penny Stephens

Andrew Demetriou's reign as AFL supremo will end after the 2014 season.

Mike Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the AFL Commission, announced Demetriou's resignation at a press conference which began at 10am at AFL House.

Fitzpatrick said that Demetriou had been a "significant force in our competition" and had presided over "a period of extraordinary growth".

Andrew Demetriou with his family at AFL House.

Andrew Demetriou with his family at AFL House. Photo: Penny Stephens

"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," Fitzpatrick said.

On the way out... AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou announcing that he will step down from the role later in the year.

On the way out... AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou announcing that he will step down from the role later in the year. Photo: Penny Stephens

Demetriou said that he had told the AFL Commission of his decision at a meeting on the 17th of February. He said it had been a "privilege and an honour" to serve the game, but the league "needs renewal, needs a fresh set of eyes".

"The growth of the game has been extraordinary," Demetriou said.

Andrew Demetriou addresses the 2006 TAC Grand Final Breakfast at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.

Andrew Demetriou addresses the 2006 TAC Grand Final Breakfast at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Photo: Eddie Jim

"It’s been a wonderful journey full of challenges but I wouldn’t have it any other way.’’

Pointedly, when asked if the doping scandal had taken a toll upon him, he responded sharply: "I didn't inject anyone ... it had had no impact on me"

"And all I know (about) what we did was as a game (we) always put the players first to protect the integrity of the game.

Andrew Demetriou at his press conference at AFL House announcing his resignation as AFL CEO. Click for more photos

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou resigns

AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou has announced he will step down at the end of 2014 season. We take a look back at his AFL career. Photo: Penny Stephens

"It’s had no impact on me whatsoever."

He paid credit to his mentors and compatriots at the league and quoted the words of former AFL administrator Jill Lindsay - on her deathbed - to look after Australian Rules Football because "the game meant to much to so many people".

Demetriou gave his deputy Gillon McLachlan, a frontrunner to replace him, a big wrap, saying, "I couldn't ask or someone more loyal, more committed, more supportive".

He said that he left the game with no regrets.

After a long list of thank-yous - including to the media and AFL fans, Demetriou became emotional.

"The AFL industry is like a family ... great people, great game...

Andrew Demetriou the player.

Andrew Demetriou the player.

"I worked out the other day that I have spent half my life in football ... 26 years out of my 52."

He said that he and his wife had agreed that they would not let the job take too much toll on their family.

"Symone and and my children have been my sunshine, my life and my hope," he said.

Asked if the Essendon supplements scandal would overshadow his legacy, Demetriou was hopeful that "people won't take a snapshot of one particular point of time ... that's for others to judge".

He said he was "pretty proud" of how the AFL handled the Essendon crisis last year, saying that the league had bolstered its integrity unit and changed rules in response and was now "well-equipped to handles issues going forward".

"We (Demetriou and Fitzpatrick) were both concerned about sport science a couple of years ago," he said.

"Whether we could’ve acted earlier ... we just weren’t in a position there. There was enough hearsay to have us worried.

"The AFL has done all it can do in this situation. I’m proud of how we acted last year.

"What happens thereafter is in (anti-doping agency) ASADA’s hands."

Fitzpatrick said that he had been discussing the transition of the CEO role since 2012. The AFL has retained a search firm to find a new CEO and Demetriou will have no role in appointing his successor.

Demetriou said 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.

Commentator Anthony Hudson says the timing of the announcement, less than two weeks before the start of the season, was "extraordinary". The season launch takes place in Adelaide on Wednesday night. However, as Jon Pierik reported in late January, many in the AFL industry expected 2014 would be Demetriou's last at the AFL.

Pierik reported: "Demetriou did not deny in August that he had been head-hunted by the Association of Tennis Professionals, which at the time was searching for an executive chairman and president. He said he had no intention of leaving but admitted: 'I get lots of approaches.'"

Former Richmond star, and former Essendon and GWS coach Kevin Sheedy has hailed Demetriou's impact.

"He's made the AFL a better competition and a better game in the whole of Australia, that's his legacy," Sheedy said on Monday.

"He's been a person that's changed the game as an administrator, there's no doubt about that.

"He put the AFL ahead of all other sports and not just - by a mile.

"And he made other organisations, along with the AFL Commission, put everybody under pressure."

Demetriou has been AFL CEO since 2003, presiding over a period of prosperity for the league, as its revenue from TV deals went to unsurpassed heights. He has overseen the expansion of the competition to 18 teams, with the introduction of the Gold Coast Suns and the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

However, his handling of the Essendon supplements scandal over the past year has been heavily criticised. At the weekend, News Limited published the names of Essendon players who may be facing ASADA sanctions. Hudson said that Demetriou "would have liked this whole thing (Essendon) sorted out before he left".

Issues facing the league currently include the implementation of "equalisation" measures designed to assist financially challenged clubs, and negotiations for the league to buy Etihad Stadium.

Demetriou, 52, played 106 games for North Melbourne and Hawthorn between 1981 and 1988. He was CEO of the AFL Player's Association between 1998 and 2000 and is also an AFL Commissioner.

ANDREW DEMETRIOU’S TIME IN THE AFL

Born 14 April, 1961, the son of Cypriot immigrants in Melbourne. Married to Symone and the father of four children.

1981 - Recruited by North Melbourne from Pascoe Vale, Demetriou played 103 games for the Kangaroos over seven seasons, producing his best as a wingman

1987 - A career in business begins, as managing director of Dentex, an importer of dental products

1988 - Transfers to Hawthorn adding a further three games and one goal before retiring, for a career total 106 games and 48 goals

1995 - Spending his post-football career with Dentex, Demetriou becomes managing director of the Ruthinium Group after Dentex purchases its parent company

1998 - Takes first major role in football as chief executive officer of the AFL Players Association (AFLPA). While at AFLPA he achieves 100 per cent player membership of AFLPA and handles negotiations on players’ collective agreement which results in a bumper pay rise for players

2000 - Moves to the AFL as general manager of football operations

2003 - Appointed as chief executive officer of the AFL, replacing Wayne Jackson

2005 - AFL introduces "three strikes" illicit drugs policy, and major changes to the AFL Tribunal

2005 - Achieves then record $780 million TV rights deal

2007 - Offers North Melbourne $100 million to relocate to the Gold Coast, which the club rejects

2011 - A $1.25 billion TV rights deal cements AFL as Australia’s biggest sport. An expansion side on the Gold Coast launches in the same year

2012 - Greater Western Sydney Giants join the league as Demetriou achieves goal of two AFL sides in each mainland state outside Victoria

2013 - Endures his annus horribilis as chief executive overseeing the AFL’s response to the Essendon doping controversy

2013 - AFL plays its first regular season game outside Australia, with St Kilda playing Sydney on Anzac Day in Wellington, New Zealand

2014 - Announces intention to stand down as chief executive at the end of the 2014 season

 - with AAP

148 comments

  • Has Geoff. Kennett enough time to write another article angling for the job?

    Commenter
    the elder
    Location
    Melb
    Date and time
    March 03, 2014, 9:46AM
    • He picked all the low fruit with TV and Web rights. Drovers dog could have run the AFL over this period.

      Commenter
      BBJ
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 10:08AM
    • One would hope not - the elder

      Commenter
      Faye
      Location
      Box Hill
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 10:25AM
    • This is true, the increase in TV revenues was not his doing rather the result of an arms race between the networks. Either way Mickey mouse would have negotiated a better deal that would have looked after rural and grass roots fans a bit better. Good riddance I say - A great day for the AFL.

      Commenter
      Elijah Baley
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 11:51AM
    • I heard Channel 7 are angling for Schapelle Corby to get the job.........

      Commenter
      Rob
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 12:09PM
    • At age 66, I wouldn't think Jeff would be remotely interested in taking such a position; he said as much on 3AW this morning. Nor would the AFL ever entertain this idea.

      Commenter
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 12:22PM
    • Just on the poll. Brian Cunningham who missed out to Adrian Anderson would be worth a look.
      2IC rather than the CEO.

      Commenter
      Rod
      Location
      Outer SA
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 2:39PM
  • Good riddance, its clear his time at the top had to end, hopefully integrity will return to the board !

    The lies, the cover ups, scandals galore, Mr Demetriou you delivered in spades when your meek game couldnt !!

    Commenter
    STeve
    Location
    Pyrmont
    Date and time
    March 03, 2014, 9:52AM
    • Steve, it looks like the meek are inheriting the earth. (Or at least total dominance in the Australian sports market.) And you can thank AD for that.

      Commenter
      Laki
      Location
      Windy Hill
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 10:15AM
    • Agreed, though it's more like two or three years too late!

      Commenter
      Indeed
      Date and time
      March 03, 2014, 11:26AM

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Round 1
Thu, 24 MarTimes shown AEDT
RIC vs CAR 19:20MCG
Sat, 26 MarTimes shown AEDT
MEL vs GWS 13:40MCG
GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
Sun, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
PTA vs STK 15:20Adelaide Oval
WCE vs BRI 19:40Domain Stadium
Mon, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
GEE vs HAW 15:20MCG
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Round 2
Fri, 01 AprTimes shown AEDT
COL vs RIC 19:50MCG
Sat, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
ADE vs PTA 13:45Adelaide Oval
ESS vs MEL 14:10MCG
BRI vs NTH 16:35G
STK vs WBU 19:25ES
FRE vs GCF 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 03 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs GEE 13:10SO
HAW vs WCE 15:20MCG
CAR vs SYD 16:40ES
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Round 3
Fri, 08 AprTimes shown AEST
PTA vs ESS 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 09 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs COL 13:45MCG
RIC vs ADE 14:10ES
SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
GCF vs CAR 19:25MS
WCE vs FRE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs MEL 13:10BA
WBU vs HAW 15:20ES
GEE vs BRI 16:40SS
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Fri, 15 AprTimes shown AEST
WCE vs RIC 20:10Domain Stadium
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ESS vs GEE 13:45MCG
HAW vs STK 14:10AS
BRI vs GCF 16:35G
CAR vs WBU 19:25ES
ADE vs SYD 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
GWS vs PTA 13:10SO
COL vs MEL 15:20MCG
NTH vs FRE 16:40ES
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Round 5
Fri, 22 AprTimes shown AEST
HAW vs ADE 19:50MCG
Sat, 23 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD vs WCE 13:40SCG
GCF vs NTH 16:35MS
WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
PTA vs GEE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
STK vs GWS 13:10ES
FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
MEL vs RIC 19:10MCG
Mon, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
COL vs ESS 15:20MCG
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Round 6
Fri, 29 AprTimes shown AEST
NTH vs WBU 19:50ES
Sat, 30 AprTimes shown AEST
MEL vs STK 13:45ES
ADE vs FRE 14:10Adelaide Oval
GWS vs HAW 16:35Spotless Stadium
RIC vs PTA 19:25MCG
GEE vs GCF 19:25SS
Sun, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs SYD 13:10G
CAR vs ESS 15:20MCG
WCE vs COL 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 7
Fri, 06 MayTimes shown AEST
RIC vs HAW 19:50MCG
Sat, 07 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs CAR 13:45MCG
GEE vs WCE 14:10SS
SYD vs ESS 16:35ANZ
GCF vs MEL 17:10MS
WBU vs ADE 19:40ES
FRE vs GWS 20:10Domain Stadium
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STK vs NTH 15:20ES
PTA vs BRI 16:40Adelaide Oval
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ADE vs GEE 19:50Adelaide Oval
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ESS vs NTH 13:45ES
HAW vs FRE 14:10AS
GWS vs GCF 16:35Spotless Stadium
BRI vs COL 19:25G
RIC vs SYD 19:25MCG
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CAR vs PTA 13:10ES
MEL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs STK 16:40Domain Stadium
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Fri, 20 MayTimes shown AEST
HAW vs SYD 19:50MCG
Sat, 21 MayTimes shown AEST
COL vs GEE 13:45MCG
GCF vs ADE 14:10MS
PTA vs WCE 16:35Adelaide Oval
NTH vs CAR 19:25ES
FRE vs RIC 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
MEL vs BRI 13:10MCG
GWS vs WBU 15:20Spotless Stadium
STK vs ESS 16:40ES
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Fri, 27 MayTimes shown AEST
SYD vs NTH 19:50SCG
Sat, 28 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI vs HAW 13:45G
MEL vs PTA 14:10TIO Traeger Park
STK vs FRE 16:35ES
ESS vs RIC 19:25MCG
ADE vs GWS 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
CAR vs GEE 13:10ES
COL vs WBU 15:20MCG
WCE vs GCF 16:40Domain Stadium
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Fri, 03 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs RIC 19:50BA
Sat, 04 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs MEL 13:45MCG
CAR vs BRI 14:10ES
GEE vs GWS 16:35SS
GCF vs SYD 19:25MS
FRE vs ESS 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs PTA 13:10MCG
WBU vs WCE 15:20ES
ADE vs STK 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 12
Fri, 10 JunTimes shown AEST
ESS vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 11 JunTimes shown AEST
PTA vs WBU 13:40Adelaide Oval
BRI vs FRE 16:35G
GEE vs NTH 19:25ES
WCE vs ADE 19:40Domain Stadium
Sun, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
STK vs CAR 13:10ES
RIC vs GCF 15:20MCG
GWS vs SYD 16:40Spotless Stadium
Mon, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL vs COL 15:20MCG
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Round 13
Fri, 17 JunTimes shown AEST
NTH vs HAW 19:50ES
Sat, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI vs WCE 13:40G
FRE vs PTA 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD vs MEL 13:10SCG
ESS vs GWS 16:40ES
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Round 14
Thu, 23 JunTimes shown AEST
ADE vs NTH 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 24 JunTimes shown AEST
COL vs FRE 19:50MCG
Sat, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
RIC vs BRI 13:40MCG
GWS vs CAR 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs GEE 19:25ES
Sun, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
HAW vs GCF 15:20AS
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Round 15
Thu, 30 JunTimes shown AEST
WCE vs ESS 20:10Domain Stadium
Fri, 01 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs RIC 19:50Adelaide Oval
Sat, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
GCF vs STK 13:40MS
SYD vs WBU 16:35SCG
CAR vs COL 19:25MCG
Sun, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs ADE 15:20MCG
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Round 16
Thu, 07 JulTimes shown AEST
PTA vs HAW 19:50Adelaide Oval
Fri, 08 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs SYD 19:50SS
Sat, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs COL 13:40Spotless Stadium
GCF vs BRI 16:35MS
WBU vs RIC 19:25ES
MEL vs FRE 19:40TIO
Sun, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs ADE 13:10MCG
WCE vs NTH 15:20Domain Stadium
ESS vs STK 16:40ES
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Round 17
Thu, 14 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs HAW 19:20SCG
Fri, 15 JulTimes shown AEST
FRE vs GEE 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 16 JulTimes shown AEST
RIC vs ESS 13:40MCG
NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
ADE vs COL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
CAR vs WCE 13:10MCG
STK vs MEL 15:20ES
BRI vs GWS 16:40G
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Round 18
Fri, 22 JulTimes shown AEST
COL vs NTH 19:50ES
Sat, 23 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD vs CAR 13:45ANZ
GCF vs FRE 14:10MS
WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
WBU vs STK 19:25ES
GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
Sun, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
ESS vs BRI 13:10ES
HAW vs RIC 15:20MCG
PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 19
Fri, 29 JulTimes shown AEST
GEE vs WBU 19:50SS
Sat, 30 JulTimes shown AEST
GWS vs RIC 13:45SO
HAW vs CAR 14:10AS
COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
BRI vs PTA 19:25G
NTH vs STK 19:25ES
Sun, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
MEL vs GCF 13:10MCG
FRE vs SYD 15:20Domain Stadium
ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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Round 20
Fri, 05 AugTimes shown AEST
RIC vs COL 19:50MCG
Sat, 06 AugTimes shown AEST
SYD vs PTA 13:45SCG
MEL vs HAW 14:10MCG
GCF vs GWS 16:35MS
WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
ADE vs BRI 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs STK 13:10MCG
GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
FRE vs WCE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 21
Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
WBU vs COL 19:50ES
Sat, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI vs CAR 13:45G
HAW vs NTH 14:10MCG
GWS vs WCE 16:35Spotless Stadium
STK vs SYD 19:25ES
PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
ESS vs GCF 13:10ES
RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
FRE vs ADE 16:40Domain Stadium
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Round 22
Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
WCE vs HAW 20:10Domain Stadium
Sat, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
NTH vs SYD 13:45BA
RIC vs STK 14:10MCG
GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
COL vs GCF 19:25ES
PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
CAR vs MEL 13:10MCG
BRI vs GEE 15:20G
ESS vs WBU 16:40ES
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Round 23
Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
HAW vs COL 12:00MCG
STK vs BRI 12:00ES
ESS vs CAR 12:00MCG
GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
NTH vs GWS 12:00ES
GEE vs MEL 12:00SS
ADE vs WCE 12:30Adelaide Oval
FRE vs WBU 14:00Domain Stadium
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Adelaide Crows 0 0 0 0 - 0
Brisbane Lions 0 0 0 0 - 0
Carlton 0 0 0 0 - 0
Collingwood 0 0 0 0 - 0
Essendon 0 0 0 0 - 0
Fremantle 0 0 0 0 - 0
Geelong Cats 0 0 0 0 - 0
Gold Coast Suns 0 0 0 0 - 0
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