AFL

AFLPA Indigenous board seeks replacement for Adam Goodes

The AFL Players Association's Indigenous Board is searching for a new chairman, with Adam Goodes stepping down.

Under the board's protocol, only players on an AFL list can have a seat. Goodes' brother, Brett, who was delisted by the Western Bulldogs last season, is also off the board, as is Mathew Stokes, who recently signed as a top-up player with Essendon.

Former Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes.
Former Sydney Swans player Adam Goodes. Photo: Getty Images

The Court of Arbitration for Sport's decision to ban 34 past and present Essendon players for an anti-doping offence could also have an impact on the board.

Paddy Ryder, now with Port Adelaide and one of the players suspended, can retain his seat as the AFLPA is not a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency code. However, he may not be able to undertake all duties because of the suspension restrictions.

The absence of Adam Goodes leaves the board without one of its best thinkers and finest spokesmen, and he has detailed the pride he took in helping to open up opportunities outside of the game for players.

Sydney's Lance Franklin, Port Adelaide's Chad Wingard, Fremantle's Michael Johnson and Hawthorn's Shaun Burgoyne remain on the panel. Burgoyne would be a favourite to become chairman.

The board has had a focus on the induction, personal support and professional development of indigenous players, as well as the recognition of their varied cultural backgrounds.

Players have long pushed for an indigenous player welfare manager at each club but that has yet to change, with Burgoyne a strong proponent of that.

"When you get to a club and there's someone senior that you can go and see, talk to and trust, I think it makes a big difference. I know that at Hawthorn, having a senior indigenous person around the club is something that has definitely helped the younger players settle in," Burgoyne has said.

While the AFL has worked assiduously to fight racism, including through the introduction of the indigenous round, a club-based report given to league chiefs last year found that while the attitudes of players have improved, there is still "a racism issue treading under the surface".