THE DEPARTURE of Etihad Stadium chief executive Paul Sergeant could pave the way for fresh negotiations on the AFL taking early control of the venue.
Sergeant has quit after three-and-a-half years at the helm.
Long-time operations manager Michael Green has been appointed acting chief executive.
Green, who has a football background, was former stadium boss Ian Collins' right-hand man during his tenure.
Sergeant came to Melbourne having previously run Wembley Stadium in London and Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
His claim to fame was attracting major international events like UFC, darts and dirt bikes to the venue.
In departing his position, Sergeant didn't mention AFL in any way.
"I have had three-and-a-half wonderful years at Etihad Stadium and I thank the investors, directors and staff for their support during this time," Sergeant said in the statement.
"I’m thrilled with all we have achieved as a team … However the time has come for me to move on."
The AFL has a contract to take control of the 55,000-seat stadium in 2025, but an early takeover has long been mooted.