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WA football boss steps down after four years

WEST Australian Football Commission chief executive Gary Walton has resigned after four years in the role.

Walton has formally stood down but will stay with the WAFC until a new CEO is appointed. 

The WAFC is hopeful of making a new appointment prior to the start of the WAFL season on March 19.

Walton said the timing was right for him to stand aside. 

New Perth stadium could host a final in 2017

"During my four years I have worked with the Commissioners to help prepare football for what will be the most significant changes to the sport in more than a quarter of a century," Walton said. 

"It is time for a new individual to see those changes implemented and keep securing a strong future for football in WA.

"After four years leading the WAFC and 14 years at a senior level in WA football, I decided across the summer that it was time for me to seek new opportunities and challenges in my career. I wish the WAFC team the very best for the future."

WAFC chairman Murray McHenry praised Walton for his achievements as CEO. 

"Gary's period as CEO has seen the WAFC commence discussions with the state government over the future financial model to sustain football in WA once the new stadium opens," McHenry said. 

"It has also involved the establishment of Perth Stadium Management with our international partners and the development of a strong submission to become operator of the new stadium. 

The WAFC's greatest challenge surrounds football's move to the new stadium and a future financial model. 

AFL football is due to move from Domain Stadium to the new 60,000-seat venue at Burswood for the start of the 2018 home and away season.

But construction on the venue is currently ahead of schedule and it is possible the venue could be ready to host a final in 2017. 

The WAFC currently owns Perth Stadium Management, which operates Domain Stadium.

Perth Stadium Management is one of the bidders to become the operator for the new Perth Stadium but no announcement has been made on which bidder will run the new venue.

The WAFC yields roughly $15 million net revenue from its current ownership of Domain Stadium that is directly invested back into football development in WA. 

The WAFC administration is also currently housed at Domain Stadium along with the West Coast Eagles. The Eagles are planning to move to a new purpose-built administration and training base at Lathlain Park. Construction of that facility is currently in the planning phase.   

Walton has been heavily involved in a joint working group that brings together the AFL, Fremantle, West Coast, and the WAFC to discuss football's future at the new stadium with the WA state government.