Sport AFL BREAKING: AFL boss Andrew Demetriou resigns
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BREAKING: AFL boss Andrew Demetriou resigns

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• Essendon furious as names of ASADA targets released

The AFL has confirmed Andrew Demetriou will step down as CEO at the end of the 2014 season.

At a press conference this morning, AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said Mr Demetriou would see out the coming season before stepping away from the competition he has led for 11 years.

Mr Demetriou took over as CEO in 2003. During his tenure, the competition has grown to 18 teams, with the introduction of Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.

Mr Demetriou said he informed the board in mid February that this year would be his last.

The announcement comes a day after twelve current Essendon players were named as telling anti-doping investigators they thought they had been injected with peptides, sparking an angry response from the club.

The peptide scandal, which erupted on the eve of last season, has tested Mr Demetriou’s leadership and raised questions about his role in managing the AFL’s first major drug scandal.

But Mr Demetriou was unapologetic about his handling of the issue, in which the relationship between the AFL and Essendon, and particularly then coach James Hird, fractured.

“I never injected anyone,” he said. “I always put players first to protect the integrity of the game.”

But he conceded that that perhaps the AFL could have acted earlier. “We (Mr Fitzpatrick and I) were both concerned about sports science a couple of years ago and whether we could have acted earlier, or put measures in place to try and prevent things….”

Mr Demetriou said he had spent half his life – 26 years – in football, 10 as a player and 16 as an administrator, and he hoped he left a positive legacy for the sport.

Mr Fitzpatrick said Mr Demetriou’s greatest contribution had not been commercial, but in providing moral leadership.

“For me the real strength of Andrew’s leadership hasn’t been in terms of stadiums and assets, but his determination to give the game an ethical underpinning and conscience, by promoting the role of women at all levels of the game, by implementing plans to embrace multi-cultural communities, expanding opportunities for indigenous Australians as players and administrators at various levels of the game, and protecting the integrity of the game and emphasising the health, safety and welfare of the players,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“He can be very proud of the state of the competition as he leaves.

“In summary Andrew has been one of the most influential CEOs in the history of the AFL. It is the responsibility of those who are temporary custodians of the game to leave it in better shape than when they arrive on any analysis Andrew has delivered on that principle.”

“For me the real strength of Andrew’s leadership hasn’t been in terms of stadiums and assets, but his determination to give the game an ethical underpinning and conscience, by promoting the role of women at all levels of the game, by implementing plans embrace multi cultural communities, expanding opportunities for indigenous Australians as players and administrators at various levels of the game, and protecting the integrity of the game and emphasising the health, safety and welfare of the players.

“He can be very proud of the state of the competition as he leaves.”

“In summary Andrew has been one of the most influential CEOs in the history of the AFL. It is the responsibility of those who are temporary custodians of the game to leave it in better shape than when they arrive on any analysis Andrew has delivered on that principle.”