The AFL Commission is the official governing body of Australian rules football and the Australian Football League (AFL), the sport's elite national competition. Richard Goyder has been chairman since 4 April 2017, replacing Mike Fitzpatrick.
|Sport||Australian rules football|
|Headquarters||AFL House, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Melbourne Docklands|
|Replaced||Australian National Football Council|
The AFL Commission is responsible for the administration of the competition of the same name, and its constitution also proclaims it as the "keeper of the code", the body universally responsible for the sport of Australian football. It was formed in 1985 as the VFL Commission, and gained its current name in 1990 (in conjunction with the renaming of the competition). The AFL Commission took over the role of the Australian National Football Council in 1993, and in 2005 also replaced the International Australian Football Council. The eight commissioners are elected by the 18 AFL clubs, with each club entitled to make nominations.
National and international game development
The Commission was formed to set policy and has directed the VFL/AFL (known then as the VFL) as the game's most professional league since December 1985.
In 1993, the AFL Commission assumed control of the AFL from the AFL Board of Directors (in effect, the 15 AFL clubs at that time). Subsequently, the Board of Directors voted itself out of existence, and a new Memorandum and Articles of Association were adopted for the AFL. It also assumed national governance of the sport (see Principle 2 below) when it absorbed the ANFC.
This was a significant change of power, as between 1985 and 1993, the Commission had required explicit approval by a 75% vote of the League (the teams) for major items such as further expansion, mergers, relocations, and major capital works.
The AFL also created an International Policy in 2005, and absorbed the International Australian Football Council, thus gaining control of the sport worldwide.
In its role as national and international governing body, the AFL Commission also controls and delegates development funding for Australian state and international bodies and leagues. As most of this funding is sourced the revenue and activities associated with the AFL competition, much of the funding is directed to the competition's developing markets. Semi-professional state competitions are generally self-sufficient, and receive a much lower percentage of the AFL's funding.
Organisation structure and members
The AFL Commission has a simple structure. There are formal corporate titles for members which currently consists of a chairman whose role is to oversee meetings and a Chief executive officer who typically also oversees the operations of the Australian Football League.
Commissioners are elected by the 18 AFL clubs, who each are entitled to make nominations. Should an election be necessary, then the membership is decided by a vote of the AFL clubs. Under the current constitution, member clubs have the power to veto commission decisions with a two thirds vote.
Current membership of the Commission is:
|Gillon McLachlan||Chief Executive Officer||2014|
|Major General Simone Wilkie||Commissioner||2015|
Chief Executive Officers
- Alan Schwab (1986–1993)
- Gabrielle Trainor (2016-)
- Andrew Newbold (2016-)
- Simone Wilkie (2015–)
- Jason Ball (2015–)
- Kim Williams (2014–)
- Paul Bassat (2011–)
- Richard Goyder (2011–)
- Linda Dessau (2009–2015)
- Christopher Lynch (2009–2014)
- Sam Mostyn (2005–2016)
- Andrew Demetriou (2004–2016)
- Mike Fitzpatrick (2003–)
- Bob Hammond (2001–2011)
- Graeme John (2001–2011)
- Chris Langford (1999–2016)
- Bill Kelty (1998–2015)
- David Shaw (1997–1998)
- Craig Kimberley (1997–1998)
- Wayne Jackson (1995–2003)
- Colin Carter (1993–2007)
- Terry O’Connor (1993–2000)
- John Kennedy, Sr. (1993–1997)
- John Winneke (1993–1994)
- Michael Carlile (1991–1992)
- Albert Mantello (1988–1992)
- Ross Oakley (1986–1996)
- Graeme Samuel (1985–2002)
- Peter Scanlon (1985–1992)
- Peter Nixon (1985–1990)
- Richard Seddon (1985–1987)
- Colin Carter (2009)
- Graeme Samuel (1995)
Club and Competition Intervention
The AFL Commission has also become involved in Australian Football League matters on occasion that the league causes on-field or off-field, sometimes in controversial circumstances.
On the field
- 2006 Aurora Stadium Siren Controversy – investigated the disputed finish to the St. Kilda vs. Fremantle match played at Aurora Stadium on 30 April 2006. The result was that the AFL commission overturned the drawn result to award Fremantle four premiership points instead of two.
- The five-game suspension handed to Greater Western Sydney forward Jeremy Cameron for his crude hit on Brisbane Lions fullback Harris Andrews in round 14 of the 2018 AFL season. Cameron became the first player in league history to be sent straight to the tribunal more than once in his career.
- The two-match suspension handed to Hawthorn captain Ben Stratton, one each for repeatedly pinching Essendon's Orazio Fantasia and for stomping Shaun McKernan, in round 13 of the 2019 AFL season.
Off the field
The commission has become involved when players or a club bring the game into disrepute, including:
- 2007 investigation into the West Coast Eagles party in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States, after the 2006 AFL Grand Final. During the Las Vegas parties, Ben Cousins rehabilitation from drug addiction, Daniel Kerr's criminal charges and the hospitalisation of Chad Fletcher after choking on his own vomit were part of the issues following the overseas trip.
- 2013 investigation into reports of the use of illegal supplements by the Essendon Football Club
The AFL Commission has an ongoing role in undertaking assessments of expansion clubs and awarding new licences including:
- Gold Coast Football Club
- Greater Western Sydney Giants
- Tasmanian AFL Bid and the 2009 Senate of Australia enquiry
The Commission owns a stake in the Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney clubs.
Member Club Viability
The AFL Commission manages a special fund called the Competitive Balance Fund (CBF) since 2004 as a grant of up to $5 million per club to ensure that member clubs remain financially viable.
The system was later changed to the Annual Special Distribution (ASD) of $6.3 million shared among all clubs, as well as allowing for grants and special concessions, such as payments, to ensure that the AFL member clubs remain viable in the short term. In 2006, the Commission approved a $2.1 million special financial assistance package for Carlton.
In response to clubs increasingly relying on and applying for special funding, in 2008, the Commission recommended removing the fund altogether, but after considerable club protests led by three struggling clubs, the Western Bulldogs, Melbourne and North Melbourne, CEO Andrew Demetriou announced that the ASD would remain.
- "Brisbane won't hold any grudges towards Jeremy Cameron after errant elbow on Harris Andrews". news.com.au. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
- Beveridge, Riley (18 June 2019). "'Remorseful and embarrassed' Hawk banned for pinching, stomping". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 19 June 2019.