Is there a chance McLachlan stays on as AFL CEO?

November 11, 2022 BY

How long: It’s being suggested that current AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan could stay on past his announced retirement. Photo: JAMES ROSS/ AAP IMAGE

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan announced in April that he’d be stepping down from his role at the end of 2022, but could recent revelations see him remain in the seat?

While there’s no doubt the 49-year-old will depart in the near future, Brownlow Medallist, Gerard Healy, pondered whether he could stay on in 2023.

“Everybody is of the view that Gillon McLachlan is going to resign at the end of this year or start of next year,” Healy said on Sportsday.

“But is it reasonable to say there’s a large chance that he may actually sign up for the entirety of next year?”

In response to Healy’s question, AFL Media’s Cal Twomey noted that such a move would be a change of McLachlan’s plans but conceded he may want to see out the rough seas the competition is facing ahead of the 2023 campaign.

“That would be a change of plans,” Twomey said.

“He still has a lot of items to tick off on his list, doesn’t he?

“When he first announced that he was going to have 2022 as his last season, there was clearly the Tasmania decision which still has some way to go before a resolution is reached there.

“There was the Collective Bargaining Agreement too, I don’t think he wanted to leave that hanging for his successor.

“The Hawthorn investigation as well has probably altered, from the outside looking in, how that’s going to play out timing-wise for him.”

With McLachlan already having concerns about leaving with unfinished business, Healy hopes the CEO makes a call at “some stage” in the near future to give all involved with the competition clarity.

“He’s already said he didn’t feel like he should desert the chair with that particular case running, he felt he needed to own that and see that through,” Healy said.

“I don’t think we’d like to see this meander along. I think it’d be good at some stage to make his mind up to give us some sort of timeline to say, ‘Okay, are you in for the season? Let’s call it September next year’.”

Western Bulldogs great Brad Johnson also agreed that McLachlan will soon need to make a decision but believes he has at least three weeks to do so before the men’s competition begins to ramp up again.

“I think there are three weeks up his sleeve,” Johnson said.

“In terms of that the players will start coming back, the men’s competition starts to bubble away again with pre-seasons and the draft is coming back as well which I think is important.

“Around that time, I think a decision needs to be made from Gil to let us know whether he’s going to take on that role going forward for another 12 months, or within six [months] or stepping away completely.”

The AFL is yet to announce McLachlan’s replacement, who will be just the competition’s fourth CEO in 26 years.