AFL news | Gillon McLachlan to step down as CEO, press conference for announcement

An emotional Gillon McLachlan was unable to fight back tears as he announced he will step away from the AFL’s top job at the end of this season.

McLachlan confirmed that he was walking away from the role of AFL CEO at the end of a nine-year tenure that has sealed his reputation as one of the top sports administrators in Australia.

He made the announcement alongside AFL chairman Richard Goyder at a snap press conference on Tuesday morning.

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“Gillon advised me on the weekend of his intention to step down as CEO of the AFL at the end of 2022,” Goyder said.

“That will be nine seasons, probably seven women seasons (AFLW) by then hopefully and 22 years or so at the AFL.

“From my point of view and from the commission’s point of view, it would be correct to say that you know, we are not happy with that decision but completely supportive of it if you get the sense.

“Gillon McLachlan has always said to me that he wanted to go out at the top of his game, and at the time of his choosing, and when the AFL was in as good a shape as it can be and I think that is fair play and the committee thinks that is fair play.”

Goyder then outlined the organization’s plan to see out the remainder of 2022 and the appointment of a successor.

“What Gill has done, and it is typical of him, is he has committed to a significant plan for 2022,” he said.

“He has committed that he and his team will do a new broadcast deal. We will do men and women’s CBAs and funding models, we will put a position to the 18 clubs on Tasmania and we will get the men’s and women’s seasons away as best we can through 2022.

“So it is a big agenda that he will lead.

“I and the commission will kick off a process in the next couple of days in terms of finding and appointing a successor to him.

“We have a period of time in which we can do that. We will appoint an external search firm in the next couple of days and that process will get underway and announcing today enables us to do that with some clear air.”

McLachlan teared up reflecting on his time at the AFL, which includes key legacies such as establishing the women’s league.

“I would like to reiterate what I said when I accepted this role – that it is an honor and a privilege to do this game. It’s the best game in the world. That’s why everyone loves it so much. The responsibility has never been lost on me,” he said.

“I feel good that the game is in better shape now than when I took over. But the scoreboard will be for others to judge. I am leaving now because it feels right. Right for the AFL, right for me, right for my family It’s clearly more complicated than that but actually, in simple terms, it is not.

“I don’t have any regrets.

“There are no regrets about any part of this role.”

The Age reports that contenders to replace McLachlan from within the AFL include football boss Andrew Dillon and fellow executive Travis Auld.

Richmond CEO Brendon Gale is also thought to be a leading contender.

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