Anderson resigns, seeks new challenges
Out the door ... Adrian Anderson. Photo: Pat Scala
ADRIAN ANDERSON has resigned from one of the top jobs at the AFL after nine years. In the third executive departure from Andrew Demetriou's team since the end of the season, Anderson's decision to quit follows Demetriou's strong support of his second-in-command Gillon McLachlan as the AFL's next chief executive.
Fairfax Media understands that Anderson, 40, the AFL's football operations boss, has been planning his departure for months and knew Demetriou was looking at restructuring his position in a move that would have diminished his influence within the organisation.
The AFL administrator told a media conference on Wednesday it was time for him to try something new after a lengthy stint at the AFL.
''It's nine years of doing this role, and I think it's time for a new challenge. I wanted to make that decision at a time that gave Andrew [Demetriou] and the guys an opportunity to put someone in place for next season. I said to Andrew, 'I'll stick around to make sure for such time is needed that those arrangements are being looked after,''' he said.
''I feel I have done most of the key things I wanted to do in this role, and it's time for me now to do something different.''
Anderson is understood to have reached his decision to leave after lengthy conversations with a number of commissioners, including chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and Demetriou himself.
He is believed to have received strong interest from other sports, and is not expected to remain at the AFL after Christmas.
The move comes as AFL auditors continue to investigate the Melbourne club for deliberately tanking games to gain early draft picks in 2009, and follows Friday's heavy sanctions handed down to key Crows officials and former player Kurt Tippett.
Anderson, who came to the AFL as a 31-year-old lawyer, restructured the game's on-field judiciary process, established the AFL's integrity unit and was instrumental in implementing radical changes to the laws of the game.
The AFL administrator said he had yet to decide on his next role.
''I've got a few ideas but as you might appreciate in this role, there's not a great amount of time off, particularly in recent months, for looking at and pursuing other opportunities,'' Anderson said.
''It's probably wasn't appropriate either to do that, in a public role like this.
''I've devoted myself fully to what I've been doing, and it's been a full-on period, and I'm really proud of the efforts we've put in this year.''
Anderson noted the nature of his position meant he had often been required to make unpopular decisions.
''I probably didn't appreciate that until I had been in the chair a few months, as to the level of scrutiny, but it's also incredibly invigorating and rewarding … I know that along the journey different people agree and don't agree and some of [the decisions] have been controversial, but it's an immensely privileged position to be in.''
Demetriou said he had not yet had the time to contemplate who would replace Anderson at AFL headquarters.