AFL Commission

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Contents

Formation of the Independent Commission

December 4, 1985 is one of the most significant dates in the history of football because it forever changed the way football is administered.

On that date the VFL Board of Directors voted to appoint a commission with specific powers to run the competition. Before that historic vote, the competition had been run by a board of directors consisting of a representative from each club.

The vote by the board of directors referred all powers and responsibilities to the Commission to run the competition with the following exceptions where the clubs retained the power:

  • to admit any club, or expel or suspend any club
  • to amalgamate or join any other league
  • to take over the administration of any additional football club
  • to approve the move of clubs out of Victoria
  • to provide any financial assistance to any club (other than by payments of advances of dividends) or to guarantee the obligations of any club.
  • except as expressly authorised in any budget approved by the Board of Directors, to purchase or dispose any capital asset with a cost of more than $100,000.
  • except as expressly authorised in any budget approved by the Board of Directors, to borrow any money otherwise than for the ordinary purposes of the league or give any security for any such borrowing.
  • to undertake any major capital works (including major works in relation to existing assets of the league) involving a total expenditure of more than $100,000
  • to exercise any of the powers of the League in owning any television or radio station.
  • to appoint representatives of the league on the National Football Championships Pty Ltd
  • to amend any laws of the game.


That structure continued until August 11 1992, when the AFL Board of Directors accepted a recommendation from the AFL Commission to conduct an independent review of the AFL administrative structure. Mr David Crawford, a senior partner of KPMG was subsequently appointed to conduct the review.


The 1993 Crawford Report

On August 11th 1992, the AFL Board of Directors adopted a recommendation from the AFL Commission to conduct an independent review of the AFL administrative structure examining specifically:

  • the respective roles and responsibilities of the Commission, Board of Directors and management of the AFL.
  • the structure of the Commission, Board of Directors and management of the AFL
  • the relationship between the Commission, Board of Directors, management of the AFL and the clubs.

Mr. David Crawford, a senior partner in the firm KPMG Peat Marwick, was subsequently appointed to conduct the review.

On March 1, 1993 Mr. Crawford presented his report to the AFL Board of Directors and the AFL Commission. The Key Recommendations in Mr Crawfords report were as follows:


Recommendations of the Commission

  • The Commission should be retained.
  • The clubs should be given the right to appoint part-time Commissioners who would be appointed for 3 years at the annual general meeting of the AFL. While the clubs and Commission may nominate people to become part-time commissioners for election at the General Meeting, only the representative of a club may vote in the event of an election.
  • The Commission be restructured to provide for up to 8 commissioners to be appointed, including at least two Executive Commissioners. There should always be a minimum ratio of part time commissioners to executive commissioners of 2:1.
  • There should be a Chairman appointed by the commissioners from amongst their number who should not be the Chief Executive Officer. The Primary role of the Chairman would include:
    • Chairing meetings of the commission - if necessary he would have a casting vote
    • Chairing meetings between the commission and the clubs
    • Being a sounding board for the Chief Executive Officier
  • The Chief Executive Officer appointed by the commission would be a commissioner as a matter of right while retaining his position as CEO and would therefore not be subject to re-election as a commissioner. He would be a voting member of the AFL Commission. The role would include being
    • responsible for the operating performance of the AFL.
    • responsible for the implementation of policy as decided by the Commission.
    • the public face of the Commission.
  • Executive Commissioners, other than the CEO shall be appointed commissioners by the Commission but shall not be voting members of the Commission.


Recommendation: Powers of the Commission

With the exception of 1) the appoint of Commissioners at Annual General Meetings and 2) the implementation of a Commission decision to admit, expel, relocate or merge a club without clubs being consulted;

The Commission be granted the power and authority to take all decision relating to all aspects of the AFL.

Other recommendations included

  • Holding quarterly information meetings between the Commission and representatives of the clubs
  • continuing the monthly meetings between the Commission and club general managers.


Unanimous Approval

On July 19, 1993, the Board of Directors unanimously approved new Memorandum and Articles of Association which reflected the recommendations of the Crawford Report.

The Date was effectively the last meeting of the Board of Directors as the Crawford Report recommended that all powers and responsibilities to run the competition be referred to the AFL Commission.

The Clubs however retain specific powers in relation to the admission, relocation and merging of clubs.

  • Any decision by the commission to admit or relocate a club or approve the merger of clubs can be reversed by the clubs at a duly constituted meeting of clubs called within 14 days of receiving formal notice of a Commission decision to admit, relocate or approve a merger of clubs.
  • A two thirds majority is required to overturn any such decision by the commission. Three clubs may requisition a meeting of clubs to reverse a decision by the Commission to admit or relocate or approve a merge of clubs. Clubs cannot be merged unless the clubs who are party to the merger first agree.
  • Clubs also have a reserve power on the possible expulsion of a club from the competition. Any decision by the Commission to expel a club must be ratified at a general meeting of clubs by a simple majority.

While the AFL Commission was given wider powers to run the game when the recommendations of the Crawford Report were adopted, Clubs retained the right to appoint the Commission.

Composition of the Board

  • The Minimum number of Commissioners is six
  • The Maximum number of Commissioners is nine
  • No more than a third of Commissioners can be executive Commissioners, including the CEO


Recent Comments

Eddie McGUire was quoted in The Age [1] on August 23rd, 2013, after a meeting of the 18 club presidents expressed unanimous support for the Commissions dealings with the Essendon Football club.

In 1985, the presidents of the 11 Victorian clubs and Sydney gave up their licensing and just about all their powers for the greater good of the game because the game was broke … That year, $800,000 the ABC under sufferance paid to broadcast the VFL for the entire season, McGuire said, referring to AFL's latest, five-year $1.25billion media rights deal. As much as it kills us sometimes, especially the presidents of the larger clubs who have to fork out a fair bit, we have to play somebody and it's important that this competition and what football means in this country is held together.


Commissioners

AFL Commission 1993-2013
Year Chairman CEO
1993 John Kennedy Ross Oakley Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Ron Evans John Winneke
1994 John Kennedy Ross Oakley Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Ron Evans John Winneke
1995 John Kennedy Ross Oakley Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Ron Evans Wayne Jackson
1996 John Kennedy Ross Oakley Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Ron Evans Wayne Jackson
1997 John Kennedy Wayne Jackson Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Ron Evans Craig Kimblerley David Shaw
1998 Ron Evans Wayne Jackson Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Bill Kelty Craig Kimblerley David Shaw
1999 Ron Evans Wayne Jackson Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Bill Kelty Craig Kimblerley David Shaw
2000 Ron Evans Wayne Jackson Terry O'Connor Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford
2001 Ron Evans Wayne Jackson Bob Hammond Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford
2002 Ron Evans Wayne Jackson Bob Hammond Graeme Samuel Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford
2003 Ron Evans Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Mike Fitzpatrick Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford
2004 Ron Evans Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Mike Fitzpatrick Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford
2005 Ron Evans Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Mike Fitzpatrick Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2006 Ron Evans Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Mike Fitzpatrick Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2007 Mike Fitzpatrick Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Colin Carter Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2008 Mike Fitzpatrick Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Linda Dessau Chris Lynch Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2009 Mike Fitzpatrick Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Linda Dessau Chris Lynch Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2010 Mike Fitzpatrick Andrew Demetriou Bob Hammond Linda Dessau Chris Lynch Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2011 Mike Fitzpatrick Andrew Demetriou Richard Goyder Linda Dessau Chris Lynch Bill Kelty Graeme John Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2012 Mike Fitzpatrick Andrew Demetriou Richard Goyder Linda Dessau Chris Lynch Bill Kelty Paul Bassatt Chris Langford Sam Mostyn
2013 Mike Fitzpatrick Andrew Demetriou Richard Goyder Linda Dessau Chris Lynch Bill Kelty Paul Bassatt Chris Langford Sam Mostyn


  • John Kennedy Snr
    • 412 Games with Hawthorn and North Melbourne
    • Inaugural AFL Hall of Fame entrant
    • Inaugural AFL Commission Chairman 1993
    • Retired from AFL Commission in 1998
  • Ross Oakley
    • Chairman and CEO of the VFL 1986
    • Inaugural AFL CEO 1993
    • Retired as AFL CEO 1997
  • John Winneke
    • Played 50 games with Hawthorn
    • Commander, Royal Australian Navy
    • Royal Commissioner into the BLF 1981
    • Appointed to the AFL Commission 1993
    • Retired from the Commission 1995
    • Victorian Supreme Court Judge 1995
  • Alan Schwab
    • Appointed VFL Commission in 1986
    • Appointed AFL Commission in 1993
    • Died June 1993
  • Graeme Samuel
    • Chairman, Melbourne and Olympic Parks Trust
    • Executive Director, MacQuarie Bank
    • Member, DOcklands Authority
    • Appointed to VFL Commission 1984
    • Appointed to AFL Commission 1993
    • Resigned from AFL Commission 2002
  • Terry O'Connor
    • Chairman of the West Coast Eagles 1987-1993
    • Played 300 games of amateur football in WA
    • Chairman Ausdrill Limited
    • Chairman of the WA AntiCorruption Commission
    • Chairman of the Interim WAFC
    • Appointed to the AFL Commission 1993
    • Retired from the AFL Commission 2001
  • Ron Evans
    • President of Essendon 1988-1992
    • Played 61 games and kicked 209 goals as a full forward for Essendon from 1958-1962
    • Leading VFL Goalkicker in 1959 and 1960
    • Managing Director of Spotless Services limited
    • Appointed to AFL Commission in 1993
    • Appointed Chairman of the AFL Commission in 1998
    • Retired from Commission in 2007
  • Wayne Jackson
    • Former member of the SANFL Commission 1990-1995
    • Life member, Woodville-West Torrens Football Club, played 160 games (seniors and reserves)
    • West Torrens Chairman 1975-1979
    • Managing Director, SA Brewing Co
    • Managing Director, Thomas Hardy and Sons
    • Business Development Director BRL Hardy
    • Appointed to AFL Commission in 1995
    • Appointed to AFL CEO in 1996
    • Resigned as AFL CEO in 2003
  • Colin Carter
    • Director of Boston Consulting Group
    • Director of Geelong Football Club 1987-1993
    • Appointed to AFL Commission in 1993
    • Retired from AFL Commission 2007
  • Craig Kimberley
    • Former President of South Melbourne Football Club 1976-77
    • Former South Melbourne VFL Director 1975-1991
    • Sydney AFL Director 1988-1991, 1993
    • Chairman of Just Jeans Holdings Ltd
    • Appointed to AFL Commission in 1997
    • Resigned from AFL Commission in 1999
  • Bill Kelty
    • Appointed to AFL Commission in 1998
    • Current serving member of the Commission in 2013
  • Chris Langford
    • Played 303 senior games with Hawthorn
    • Development Director, Mirvac
    • Director, AFL NSW/ACT 1998
    • Appointed to AFL Commission 1999
    • Current serving member of the Commission in 2013
  • Graeme John
    • Played 77 Games for South Melbourne from 1964-1969
    • South Melbourne president from 1978-1980
    • Australia Post Managing Director 1993
    • Appointed to the AFL Commission in 2000
    • Retired from Commission in 2012
  • Bob Hammond
    • Played 234 matches for North Adelaide in the SANFL
    • Captained North Adelaide and Norwood
    • Coach of South Australia in 1984
    • Chairman Adelaide Football Club 1991-2000
    • SANFL and AFL Life Member
    • Appointed to the AFL Commission 2001
    • Acting AFL Chairman 2006-2007
    • Retired from Commission 2011
  • Andrew Demetriou
    • Played 103 games for North Melbourne
    • CEO of the AFLPA
    • General Manager - AFL Football operations 2000-2003
    • Appointed CEO 2003
    • Still serving 2013
  • Mike Fitzpatrick
    • 97 Games with Subiaco
    • 150 games and 2 premierships with Carlton
    • Managing Director Hastings Fund Management
    • Chairman of the Australian Sports Commission
    • Appointed to the AFL Commission 2003
    • Appointed Chairman of the AFL Commmission
    • Still serving as Chairman 2013
  • Sam Mostyn
    • First female Commissioner
    • Appointed to the Commission in 2006
    • Current serving member of the Commission in 2013
  • Chris Lynch
    • Appointed to the Commission in 2007
    • Current serving member of the Commission in 2013
  • Justice Linda Dessau
    • Family Court Justice
    • Appointed to the Commission in 2007
    • Current Serving member of the Commission in 2013
  • Richard Goyder
    • Managing Director of Wesfarmers
    • Director of the Business Council of Australia
    • Director of the Fremantle Football Club
    • Appointed to the AFL Commission in 2011
    • Current serving member of the Commission in 2013
  • Paul Bassat
    • Founder of SEEK
    • Appointed to the Commission in 2012
    • Serving member of the Commission in 2013

References

  • The 1993 AFL Annual Report
  • The 1996 AFL Annual Report, pages 34 and 35
  • The Age, August 23rd, 2013 "Clubs Had to Stand withe AFL" [2]