Australian football is the greatest game in the world. Action needs to be taken to ensure that the quality of its administration is also world class.
1. Conduct a root and branch review of the AFL’s governance and structure. We all know an internal review by the AFL would be glowing in its praise, so the review needs to be fully independent.
2. What is best for the AFL brand is not always what is best for the game. To prevent future conflicts of interest, consideration to be given to creating two separate entities – one to run the professional 18 team AFL competition and one to look after Grass Roots Development. We may well end up deciding to just have one body, but let’s at least have a look at it.
3. No more jobs for the boys. All jobs at AFL House to be advertised, including the role of CEO. The best person for the job is the most qualified. No one to be given a job because they are a good bloke and mates with Johnno. Working at AFL House is a privilege, it is not a right.
4. A focus on administration, not intimidation. Ensure systems are put in place to ensure individuals and groups are not bullied, intimidated or threatened by the AFL or its staff. The AFL’s focus should be on kicking goals, not heads.
5. An end to the Rule or Interpretation of the week. The umpires need to be instructed to umpire according to the Laws of the Game.
6. Stop changing the rules! No other sporting administration in the world tinkers with the rules as much as the AFL does. If the AFL was in charge of world soccer, players would be kicking a pineapple through a triangle.
7. Establish an annual National Footy Summit, inviting and welcoming input from all. There are many people around the country who have great ideas to grow and develop our great game.
8. An end to the moral preaching from AFL House. Going to the footy gives fans the chance to escape from the realities and pressures of modern life for a few hours each weekend. We go to the footy to support our teams, not to be preached to. Fans part with their hard earned to go to the footy – if they wish to cheer their teams, and boo the opposition, let them be.
9. A truly independent Commission. We are supposed to have an independent AFL Commission that oversees the AFL Executive, yet the CEO also sits on the Commission. To ensure complete independence, this cannot continue.
10. Advertise the CEO’s position.The current CEO, Gillon McLachlan, was endorsed as Andrew Demetriou’s successor. When Gillon decides it’s time to go, there needs to be a process put in place where the position is advertised, not inherited. AFL House is not Game of Thrones.