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Bomber chief to stay on

Ian Robson.

Ian Robson. Photo: Penny Stephens

THE AFL may have lost Israel Folau back to rugby league but one of the game's leading chief executives has resisted switching codes by signing a new contract extension.

Essendon has confirmed Ian Robson will stay on as chief executive, eliminating the threat that he could have been appointed the NRL's new supremo.

Robson, whose three-year deal expired last month, had been linked with the rugby league position and reportedly had some support among members of the ARL Commission.

He is the second AFL administrator linked with the NRL job to rule himself out, after AFL chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan rejected rugby league's $1.5 million offer two months ago.

McLachlan had been the favourite for the job when he decided to stay on as Andrew Demetriou's lieutenant. Essendon has not said how long Robson's contract extension is but club chairman David Evans said his chief executive was the man to lead the club through the development of its new training and administration base near Melbourne Airport.

''Ian's strategic direction and leadership of the club will play a critical role in our future development and performance over the coming years,'' Evans told Essendon's website.

Robson was in charge at Hawthorn when it won the 2008 premiership but stunned the Hawks the following year when he defected to Windy Hill.

He has a background in rugby league: he was the founding chief executive of the Warriors when the New Zealand team joined the NRL and was also in charge of Super League in Britain.

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