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'Future' AFL chairman Jeff Browne no longer in the running

The man once tipped to be a future AFL Commission chairman is no longer in the running to join the game's governing body.

Lawyer and long-time television executive and company director Jeff Browne has told the league he is not interested in coming aboard because he has too many other business interests and has relocated to Perth.

Browne's decision comes as the AFL considers a potential replacement for chairman Mike Fitzpatrick.

Commissioner Chris Langford will step down in March, while fellow commissioner Sam Mostyn is set to leave later this year, with the AFL engaging recruitment firm Egon Zehnder to help find their replacements, as reported by Fairfax Media.

Browne was open to joining the Commission in 2014, when he had the support of long-time friend and business associate Eddie McGuire and West Coast chairman Alan Cransberg. The AFL at the time had been seeking a replacement for Linda Dessau.

Browne would have added considerable media knowledge heading into last year's broadcast rights negotiations, although the AFL still ended up with a record $2.5 billion deal at a time News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch was feuding with the NRL. Browne, instead, led the Nine network's negotiations as a consultant.


He had been the AFL's legal adviser for more than two decades before linking with Nine for the first time. He quit in 2013. His time there included working alongside McGuire, then Nine's chief executive. He had also been McGuire's manager.

Browne had been instrumental in changing the AFL's rules and regulations during his time at league headquarters.

He had joined the then VFL after his dealings as an agent and adviser to players in the early 1980s had frustrated clubs and led to several stars changing clubs and securing major pay increases.

The biggest of these was in 1982 when Brownlow medallists Peter Moore (Collingwood) and Kelvin Templeton (Footscray) transferred to Melbourne in a stunning $1 million coup.

In 1985, he agreed to work exclusively for the VFL. Together with Graeme Samuel, he played a major role in developing the AFL Commission, dealt with racial vilification and integrity issues, and helped broker television rights deals.