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The AFL is an Australian public company. Its full name is Australian Football League Limited ACN 004 155 211.

The AFL was registered as a company on 18 June 1929 under a predecessor of the Commonwealth Corporations Act 2001. Its previous name was Victorian Football League Limited but that was changed to the present name on 23 January 1990.

Like any company, the AFL is ultimately controlled by its members. But who are the members of the AFL? Well they are certainly not the poor souls who log on to the “membership” section of the AFL website and “join” or “renew” their “membership”. The AFL website currently says there is a 10 to 12 year waitlist for “full membership” but what the AFL calls “membership” has nothing to do with being a legal member of Australian Football League Limited. All that those hapless hopefuls waiting for 10 to 12 years will ever get is access to multiple games staged by the AFL and sundry other minor benefits. Those people get no say whatsoever in the running of the AFL the way shareholders ultimately control most companies. The people do who ultimately control the AFL are those who are members for the purpose of the Corporations Act, which in this case means the AFL’s guarantors because it is a company limited by guarantee, not by shares.
David Forbes