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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

Just days after the Kurt Tippett hearing ended, General Manager of Football Operations Adrian Anderson tendered his resignation. Anderson said he felt he had accomplished everything he could and was ready to look for new challenges and opportunities. A lawyer by profession, Anderson will remain in the position until his successor is appointed.

Anderson joined the AFLPA as an adviser shortly after becoming a partner in a law firm. At the time, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou was head of the AFLPA. Demetriou also served as AFL Operations Manager until he was appointed CEO in 2003. Even though he did not formally apply for the job, Anderson emerged as the person to take over as Operations Manager after no other candidate met the criteria. Demetriou had offered the position to West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett but he turned it down because his family did not want to move to Melbourne.

Anderson's appointment came as a surprise to some as he was viewed as not being a "football person". He had never played AFL football nor had he ever worked at any AFL club. At the time of his appointment, he admitted to not having the experience of others in the industry, but tempered that by pointing out his experience with the AFLPA which did see him deal with some of the clubs.

At a press conference, Andrew Demetriou thanked Anderson and congratulated him for his contributions and "... his willingness to tackle challenging issues such as major reforms of the AFL Tribunal system, changes to the Laws of the Game while trying to balance the views of players, coaches and the football public ... he has also established a department dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the integrity of the game." Demetriou acknowledged Anderson's contributions in helping to establish Gold Coast and GWS as well as the current broadcast agreement in his role as a member of the broadcasting sub-committee.

Demetriou concluded by saying "Given issues such as laws of the game, competition integrity, umpiring and the Match Review Panel, Adrian and his team are often second guessed and subject to a great deal of public scrutiny and he has always handled this in a very professional way. We wish him every success in the next phase of his professional career.”

Anderson said he was very privileged to have served as the General Manager, Football Operations for the last nine years and the the influence of the game on the community was never lost on him. He acknowledged the great people he had worked with and thanked Demetriou for giving him the opportunity. He said he was proud of what he had achieved - changes to the rules to ensure player safety, the revamped Tribunal process, the introduction of the drugs policy, free agency and the new player CBA. He finished by thanking the "hard-working, devoted and talented staff" at the operations department.

During his tenure, Anderson oversaw:
A complete review of the Tribunal and the establishment of the Match Review Panel with their table of offenses, introduced in 2005.

Working with the AFLPA to establish the Illicit Drugs Policy in 2005 which includes out-of-competition testing. The drug code was further strengthened by the introduction of blood testing.

Chairing the Laws of the Game Committee during which time significant reforms were implemented to ensure the safety of the players and make the game a great spectacle to watch. In 2007, rules were introduced to protect players from serious head and neck injuries.

Introduction of new policies regarding concussions and promoting concussion research and management.

Establishing the AFL’s first integrity department which was responsible for the policies and procedures to monitor betting on the game, monitoring and investigating the off-field behavior of players and officials, and investigating breaches of the AFL’s total player payment and draft rules. That has included overlooking salary caps, changes to the draft such as the father-son rule and the pre-listing of players for expansion clubs.

Managing the Individual Conduct Policy adopted by the AFL Commission 2009.

Managing the introduction of player rules for the establishment of the Gold Coast Suns and Greater Western Sydney Giants.

Leading negotiations with the AFLPA for the new CBA which took effect this year and runs through 2018 and negotiating the Free Agency agreement.

Developing an agreement with the AFL Coaches Association to provide education and training for coaches and assistance for coaches when they enter and leave the AFL competition.

Promoting greater respect for umpires.

The expansion of AFL games played to every state and territory.

Establishing a cultural and education strategy which includes programs for players and club officials on topics such as the responsible use of alcohol, gambling, anti-vilification and the AFL’s respect and responsibility policy which promotes a safe and inclusive environment for women at all levels of the game.

Former Richmond ruckman and Tigers CEO Brendon Gale, also a lawyer, is believed to be a contender. Gale, prior to taking over at Richmond, headed the AFLPA. It is believed Anderson's successor will take on a restructured position with less authority.

Source: afl.com.au, news.com.au, Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release

Article last changed on Friday, February 01, 2013 - 8:39 PM EST


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