AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon speaks to the media on August 28, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

At the head of the AFL structure is the AFL Commission comprising 10 commissioners. They are Chairman Richard Goyder, AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Dillon, Paul Bassat, Robin Bishop, Matt de Boer, Andrew Ireland, Professor Helen Milroy, Andrew Newbold, Gab Trainor and Simone Wilkie.

The chief executive officer is appointed by the AFL Commission and is responsible for the operating performance of the AFL and the implementation of policy decided by the commission. He is also the public face of the commission.


Richard Goyder is the Chairman of Woodside Energy Ltd, Qantas Airways Ltd, the West Australian Symphony Orchestra and the Channel 7 Telethon Trust.

Formerly he was Chairman of the Australian B20 (the key business advisory body to the international economic forum which includes business leaders from all G20 economies). He was the Managing Director and CEO of Wesfarmers Limited from July 2005 to November 2017.

He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2013 for distinguished service to business through executive roles and through the promotion of corporate sponsorship of the arts and Indigenous programs, and to the community.

Richard was named West Australian of the Year in 2021, recognising his commitment to the community through his philanthropic endeavours.

He was a director of the Fremantle Football Club from 2006 until September 2011 and played amateur football with University and Old Scotch in WA. Appointed to the AFL Commission in 2011. Appointed Chairman of the AFL Commission in March, 2017.


Has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne and a post-graduate diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Securities Institute of Australia. Undertook Articled Clerkship at Corrs Chambers Westgarth in 1994 and was subsequently employed as a solicitor in Corrs’ Commercial Division. From October 1997 to August 2000, worked as in-house legal counsel at Village Roadshow Limited. Joined the AFL in August 2000 as Legal Counsel and was appointed General Manager – Legal and Business Affairs in July 2004. In December 2011, was appointed as General Manager of National and International Development and General Counsel.

In 2013 was Appointed General Manager, Legal, Integrity and Compliance in addition to General Counsel.

In March 2017, in addition to the role of General Counsel, General Manager of Integrity and Compliance, Dillon took on the responsibility of Game Development, which saw him responsible for all the community and state football leagues, community and state football facilities and infrastructure and the relationships with all AFL state bodies.

 In September 2021, Dillon was appointed as Executive General Manager Football Operations, leaving the role of EGM Game Development, and remaining as AFL General Counsel.

Appointed as Chief Executive-Elect in May 2023, commencing in October 2023 as CEO and a Commissioner.


Paul Bassat is a co-founder of Square Peg, which is a venture capital fund focused on investing in early-stage technology companies in Australia, Israel and South East Asia. He co-founded SEEK in 1997 and served as CEO and then joint CEO from 1997-2011 and served as a director of Wesfarmers from 2012-18. He is also a director of the P&S Bassat Foundation. He started his career as a lawyer and practised for six years. He holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce from The University of Melbourne. Appointed to the AFL Commission in 2012.


Robin Bishop is a founding partner of BGH Capital, Australia’s largest private equity firm. BGH Capital raised BGH Capital Fund I at $2.6bn in 2018 and BGH Capital Fund II at $3.6bn in 2022.  BGH Capital partners with entrepreneurs, business owners and management teams in Australia and New Zealand to help them build strong, sustainable, market-leading businesses. 

Previously, Bishop was head of Macquarie Capital Australia, the region’s largest and most active investment banking team. Bishop has led more than $100 billion in M&A transactions and more than $40 billion in capital raising assignments across a range of sectors and markets.

Bishop is a non-executive director of the Burnet Institute for Medical Research and serves on the Australian Takeovers Panel. Bishop received a Bachelor of Commerce, a Bachelor of Laws (Hons.) and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne. Appointed to the AFL Commission in 2017.


Played 223 AFL games between 2009-2022 with Fremantle (138) and the GWS Giants (85), having represented WA at U18 level. During his playing career, was twice named Best Clubman at Fremantle while serving as a member of the Giants’ leadership group and also as a delegate to the AFL Players’ Association. Completed a Bachelor Commerce at the University of WA and the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ Course. In 2020, attended the Harvard Business School online. In the same year, co-founded Athletic Ventures, comprising current and former athletes who seek to partner with entrepreneurs. Married to Rachael with a son Harrison. Appointed to the AFL Commission in October 2023.


Andrew Ireland is a former VFL player, who played 110 games with Collingwood between 1975-80, having begun his senior career with Ivanhoe in the VFA. After his playing days, he was a very successful football administrator who was involved with several premierships throughout his off-field career. After beginning a role to promote Queensland football, he then held the position of CEO at the Brisbane Bears and Brisbane Lions between 1990-2001, including the Lions’ first flag in 2001. Ireland joined the Sydney Swans in 2002 as General Manager of Football before taking over as CEO in September 2009, a role he held until his retirement in December 2018. In this period, the Swans’ broke a 72-year premiership drought in 2005 and won another flag in 2012.

In his time with both clubs, Ireland oversaw the development strong and successful football programs, alongside outstanding growth in commercial areas of the Clubs. He holds a Bachelor of Science, is a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Life Member of the AFL, the Sydney Swans and the Brisbane Lions. In December 2018, he was appointed as a Commissioner of Sport Australia. Appointed to the AFL Commission in October 2023.


Professor Milroy is a descendant of the Palkyu people of the Pilbara region in WA but was born and educated in Perth. She is Australia’s first Indigenous doctor and child psychiatrist. Currently Helen is the Stan Perron Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Perth Children’s Hospital and University of Western Australia and Honorary Research at the Telethon Kids Institute. Helen is the Chair of the Gayaa Dhuwi Proud Spirit Australia organisation and a board member of Beyond Blue. Helen has been on state and national mental health and research advisory committees and boards with a particular focus on Indigenous mental health as well as the wellbeing of children. From 2013-17, Helen was a Commissioner with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and from 2017-2021 was a Commissioner with the National Mental Health Commission. In 2020, Helen was the joint winner of the Australian Mental Health Prize and named the WA Australian of the Year for 2021. Helen is also an artist and published author and illustrator of children’s books. She has been shortlisted for several children’s literature awards and received the 2021 Whitley Award for best early childhood reader for Backyard Birds. She joined the AFL Commission in March 2019.


Andrew Newbold joined the AFL Commission at the start of 2016 after retiring as Chairman and President of the Hawthorn Football Club. In his time as President, the club played in four consecutive Grand Finals from 2012, winning three premierships. He played a key role in the growth and success of the club over his 13 years as President and a director. Newbold is a qualified lawyer with more than 20 years’ experience in practising commercial law. Following his retirement from law in 2006, Newbold started a renewable energy business which he sold to an ASX top 20 company in 2009. He is an executive director of the boutique finance house Supra Capital Limited and the Chairman of Althea Group Holdings Limited. Previously, Newbold has been a director of a number of private companies and not-for-profit organisations, including the Australian Childhood Foundation and Victorian Deaf Society. He was appointed to the AFL Commission in 2016.


Gabrielle Trainor’s background is as a lawyer, journalist, public sector executive and consultant in public policy, government relations and issues management. She has more than 25 years’ experience as a non-executive director in entities operating in urban development, major projects, transport and infrastructure. Her current positions include as Interim Chair of Infrastructure Australia, as an adviser to the Major Transport Infrastructure Authority (Vic), a board member of the Western Parkland City Authority (NSW), construction company Built Group Holdings Limited and listed investment company WAM Global. She is a trustee of the Charlie Perkins Trust, a member of the AIATSIS Foundation Council and an advisor to law firm Gadens. Trainor was appointed as an inaugural Director of the Greater Western Sydney Giants Football Club in 2011 and chaired the Giants’ Integrity Committee. She has lifelong experience in football, from volunteering for the Willoughby Wildcats in the Sydney AFL juniors’ competition to sitting on the AFL Commission NSW/ACT for 10 years, where she championed the movement to better integrate the Sydney Women’s AFL with the Commission. Her grandfather, Frank, and father, Tony, were presidents of North Melbourne for a total of 22 years. Appointed to the AFL Commission in March 2016.


Simone Wilkie was raised in Ballarat, where football played a central part in family life. She retired from the Army as a Major General after completing 35 years’ service including senior appointments in operations and training, and active service in Cambodia, Iraq and Afghanistan. She chaired the Australian Defence Force Sports Council for five years, overseeing major reforms and the development and management of Australia’s Invictus Games Teams. She is a Senior Advisor with Boston Consulting Group; a Strategic Advisor to Defence Industry; and a non-executive Director of The Beaufort Group. Appointed to the AFL Commission in 2015.

Organisational structure

The AFL, under the Chief Executive, is divided into departments led by Executive General Managers across each of these areas of executive responsibility.

Chief Executive Officer: Andrew Dillon
Has a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne and a post-graduate diploma in Applied Finance and Investment from the Securities Institute of Australia. Undertook Articled Clerkship at Corrs Chambers Westgarth in 1994 and was subsequently employed as a solicitor in Corrs’ Commercial Division. From October 1997 to August 2000, worked as in-house legal counsel at Village Roadshow Limited. Joined the AFL in August 2000 as Legal Counsel and was appointed General Manager – Legal and Business Affairs in July 2004. In December 2011, was appointed as General Manager of National and International Development and General Counsel.

Executive General Manager – Game Development: Rob Auld
Completed a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting. During a 15-year career with Lion, Rob worked across finance, logistics and sales in winery and dairy business units, while involved in the game at community level as a player, coach and president in Victoria. Joined the AFL in 2016 as CEO of AFL Tasmania. In 2018, he was appointed to Head of Game Development, working with State bodies focussing on community football at all levels nationally. In 2020, was appointed General Manager of AFL competitions including umpiring, competition management, game analysis and player movement. Appointed in November 2021 to the role of Executive General Manager Game Development, which includes responsibility for all participation and programs including the portfolios of Auskick, Schools, Diversity and Inclusion, as well as Community Football governance and facility development.

Executive General Manager: Finance, Clubs and Infrastructure: Matthew Chun
Matthew joined the AFL in 2019 and has been responsible for the redevelopment of Marvel Stadium which completed in November 2023. In September 2023 Matthew was appointed to the role of EGM Finance, Clubs and Infrastructure.
He has formal qualifications in accounting, property and finance, and a three decade-long resume that includes CEO and senior leadership positions within ASX listed companies, multiple directorships and numerous consultancy and corporate advisory roles.
Committed to balancing work, life and community, he is a devoted father of four and a long-standing volunteer surf lifesaver.

Executive General Manager: People: Sarah Fair
An accomplished HR professional and change management specialist, Fair was appointed to the AFL Executive in March 2017. Fair has extensive experience in driving sustainable change to create purpose driven, high-performing organisations with talented people, who love what they do, live and breathe the values and have the capability to deliver on what's most important. Her previous experience includes Head of Diversity and Head of Culture roles at Australia Post. Before joining Australia Post, Fair was a Senior Organisational Development Consultant at a global management consulting firm, where she worked across a number of industries on key change projects including retail, fast-moving consumer goods, financial services, government, construction and mining.

Executive General Manager – Inclusion and Social Policy: Tanya Hosch
Tanya is the Executive General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy at the Australian Football League and in 2021 South Australian – Australian of the Year.
Ms Hosch has a long and distinguished history in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy, advocacy, governance and is an accomplished public speaker.
Before joining the AFL as the first ever Indigenous person and second woman in their Executive ranks in August 2016, Tanya was the Joint Campaign director of the Recognise movement for constitutional recognition.
At the AFL Tanya’s portfolios include – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, Gender Equity, Sexuality and Gender Diversity, racism and sexism. Tanya is tasked with the implementation of the AFL’s enhanced Indigenous strategy, advising the AFL National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council, maintenance of the Respect and Responsibility Policy (2017) and the Gender Diversity Policy.
Tanya is a Co-Chair of the Indigenous Advisory Group of the National Australia Bank, a Director of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School, was a former Board Director of Circus Oz and was a member of the Referendum Council that led the process and final recommendation that resulted in The Statement from the Heart in May 2017. A career highlight was contributing as a Consultant on the ABC drama, Total Control, where she later appeared in a cameo part in Season Two.
In 2021, Tanya was listed at sixth on the Australian Financial Review’s list of Australian Cultural Influencers and, in December 2022, Tanya was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Flinders University.

Executive General Manager-  Football: Laura Kane
Laura Kane was appointed as EGM Football in August 2023, having acted in the role through the course of the 2023 season. A graduate of Victoria University (Bachelor of Laws with Honours), with further study also at the Leo Cussen Centre for Law, Humboldt University (Germany) and Salzburg University (Austria), she initially worked as a solicitor, representing victims of child abuse and other serious crimes, including at Public Hearings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
North Melbourne FC recruited her in 2016 to become Women’s Football and Talent Pathways Manager, before roles as Head of Football Operations and then General Manager Strategy and Football Operations at the club. In this period, she oversaw the introduction of the Kangaroos’ AFLW team and the Arden Street facility redevelopment.
Joining the AFL in November 2021, she was previously General Manager Competition Management before being appointed to the AFL Executive team.
A Life Member of the Melbourne University Women’s Football Club, Kane served as both a player and in off-field roles as director and President (five years).

Executive General Manager – Strategy: Walter Lee
Appointed to the AFL Executive in March 2017. Walter leads teams responsible for strategic planning, technology and data analytics at the AFL.
Walter is responsible for driving the overall strategy of the AFL and managing strategic investments in the competition’s expansion and growth.  Walter is closely involved in the AFL Broadcast and Media Rights Agreements, AFL Players Collective Bargaining Agreements and Competitive Balance and Club Funding models.  In his broader role, he is overseeing the ongoing transformation of technology, data and analytics across the AFL and Clubs.
Walter joined the AFL in 2009 on secondment from strategy consultancy, Booz Allen Hamilton.  Prior to the AFL, he worked globally across the resources, government, communications and technology sectors.
Walter is currently serves as a board member of sports data and technology businesses, Champion Data and PlayHQ.  Walter holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) with Melbourne Business School and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD).

General Counsel: Stephen Meade
Appointed to the AFL Executive in September 2023 as General Counsel and Company Secretary, Stephen’s portfolio includes oversight of the AFL’s governance functions, including Legal, Risk and Safety, Concussion and Healthcare and Integrity and Security.
The department also oversees the Tribunal functions of the AFL and AFLW competitions. In his role Stephen chairs the AFL Concussion Steering Group, the AFL Child Safeguarding Committee and the AFL Work Health & Safety Committee.
Stephen joined the AFL in 2017, working initially as Head of Legal and Regulatory and later as General Manager, before being elevated to the Executive team. He was previously a partner at law firm K&L Gates and worked for its predecessor law firm, Middletons.
He completed a BA (Hons), LLB (Hons) in Law, Politics and English at the University of Melbourne, after attending Trinity College, Colac and St Patrick’s College, Ballarat. Stephen is a Life Member of the Melbourne University Football Club as a former player and administrator of the University Blues in the VAFA.
Stephen is married to Dr Catherine Meade and they have five children, Laura, Juliette, Ava, Hugo and Audrey.

Executive General Manager - Customer and Commercial: Kylie Rogers
One of Australia’s leading commercial and media executives, having worked at Network Ten for 17 years in a number of roles, including National Commercial Director. Rogers joined the AFL in December 2017 from Mamamia, Australia’s largest women’s media company. As Commercial Director and then Managing Director, she oversaw significant growth and profitability for the organisation in Australia and internationally.
EGM Customer and Commercial is responsible for AFL’s revenue and fan divisions including corporate partnerships, advertising sales, licensing and retail, Club, Stadium & AFL memberships, premium hospitality products, ticketing and events, marketing, digital media including the AFL’s website ( and official App, Marvel Stadium and fan growth experience. 
In 2023, the portfolio was expanded to now include AFL’s strategic Broadcast relationships across Seven Network, Foxtel and Kayo, Newscorp, Telstra and the league’s radio partners.

Executive General Manager – Corporate Affairs, Government and Communications: Brian Walsh
Walsh rejoined the AFL in September 2019 as General Manager, having previously worked at the AFL between 2006-11 as the League’s first Corporate Affairs Manager. After beginning his career in newspapers, working in senior reporting, editing and management roles including Managing Editor (Sport), he has been a senior communications and issues management executive across the past two decades. From the AFL, under Andrew Demetriou, he was appointed General Manager Corporate Communications for NAB before founding Bastion Reputation Management in 2015 where he was CEO until 2019.  Walsh also previously served as a director of the North Melbourne FC. His role combines the AFL’s key work in both media, communications, government relations and sustainability, along with the AFL’s work in the community to support charitable work.

AFL Key Committees

Andrew Dillon (chair), Eddie Betts, Jude Bolton, Nathan Buckley, Kane Cornes, Glen Jakovich, Laura Kane, Cameron Ling, Matthew Pavlich, Kevin Sheehan (NAB AFL Rising Star only).

Laura Kane (chair), Jason Bennett, Sarah Black, Andrew Dillon, Katie Loynes, Narelle Smith, Kelli Underwood, Megan Waters.

Andrew Newbold (chair), Robin Bishop, Richard Goyder AO, Gabrielle Trainor AO.

Simone Wilkie (chair), Breanna Brock, Jess Burger, Julia Chiera, Michelle Cowan, Andrew Dillon, Brendon Gale, Bec Goddard, Laura Kane, Nicole Livingstone, Erin Phillips, Hannah Priest, Kate Roffey, Diana Taylor.

Richard Goyder AO (chair), Graham Cornes, Ross Glendinning, Debbie Lee, Karen Lyon, Andrew McLeod, Paul Marsh, Alister Nicholson, Michael O’Loughlin, David Parkin, Patrick Keane (secretary).

Gab Trainor (chair), Darren Arthur, Paul Bassat, Peter Blucher, Colin Carter, Barb Cullen, Dr Greg De Moore, Mike Fitzpatrick, Christine Halbert, Peter Jackson, Glenn McFarlane, Darren Moncrieff, Brian Walsh, Greg Wardell-Johnson, Patrick Keane (secretary).

Paul Briggs (co-chair), Helen Milroy (co- chair), Xavier Clarke, Tanya Hosch, Alicia Janz, Dr Joe Morrison, Gabrielle Trainor AO, Pat Turner, Paul Vandenbergh.

Richard Goyder AO (chair), Paul Bassat, Robin Bishop, Matthew Chun, Andrew Dillon, Craig Drummond, Walter Lee, Andrew Pridham.

Andrew Dillon (chair), Glenn McFarlane, David Parkin, Patrick Keane (secretary).

Richard Goyder AO, Paul Bassat, Robin Bishop, Sarah Fair, Simone Wilkie.

Steve Drummy (Chair), Madeline Penny (Deputy Chair), Melissa Azzopardi, Josh Cubillo, Rod Jackson, Colin Pidd, Sally Powell, Ben Smith, Sandra Sweeney.

Tribunal Chair: Jeffrey Gleeson KC and Renee Enbom KC.
Tribunal Panel Members: Jordan Bannister, Michelle Dench, Darren Gaspar, Wayne Henwood, Jason Johnson, Stephen Jurica, Richard Loveridge, Stewart Loewe, Shannon McFerran, David Neitz, Talia Radan, Scott Stevens, Shane Wakelin, Paul Williams.
Appeal Board Chairs: Murray Kellam KC, John Middleton.
Appeal Board Panel Members: Wayne Henwood, Stephen Jurica, Richard Loveridge
AFL Tribunal Counsel: Sam Bird, Sally Flynn KC, Lisa Hannon KC, Nick Pane KC, Andrew Woods
Tribunal Secretary: Matthew Whitaker
Match Review Officer: Michael Christian
Match Review Secretary: Hamish Anderson

Chief Medical Officer
Dr Michael Makdissi

Trisha Squires (chair), Luke Darcy, Andrew Dillon, Jude Donnelly, Sarah Fair, Sam Ludbey-Stynes, Neil Mitchell, Brett Murphy, Kim Williams.

Historic AFL / VFL Office-holder Material

1897-1915: Alex McCracken, JP
1915-17: O. Morrice Williams
1918-19: Charles Brownlow
1919-25: Sir Baldwin Spencer
1926-55: Dr W.M.C. McClelland, CBE, JP
1956-71: Sir Kenneth Luke, CM, JP
1971-76: Sir Maurice Nathan, KBE
1977-84: Dr Allen Aylett, OBE

1897-1929: Edwin Wilson
1929-56: Like McBrien, OBE
1956-76: Eric McCutchan, OBE
1977-84: Jack Hamilton, AM
1985-86: Alan Schwab

1984-86: Jack Hamilton, AM

1986-93: Ross Oakley
1993-97: John Kennedy
1998-2007: Ron Evans
2007-16: Mike Fitzpatrick
Since 2017: Richard Goyder

1986-93: Alan Schwab

1993-96: Ross Oakley
1996-2003: Wayne Jackson
2003-14: Andrew Demetriou
2014-23: Gillon McLachlan
Since October 2023: Andrew Dillon

AFL House, 140 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, VIC 3008. Telephone: (03) 9643 1999. Postal Address: PO Box 1449, Melbourne, VIC 3001

Australian Football: A short history of the national game's evolution

Australian Football is a domestic football code and is the largest professional sport, winter or summer, in Australia, by the measures of yearly fan attendance, membership of the elite professional clubs, television audiences, broadcast contract arrangements and financial turnover of the clubs and competition.

The AFL (Australian Football League) is the body that manages both the national elite competitions for men (AFL) and women (AFLW), as well as promotion and development of the game at community level, via grants and support to state-based and community-based leagues, which are semi-professional or amateur depending on their size.

Historically, matches began from the late 1850s and two of the current elite AFL clubs at senior level, Melbourne (1858) and the Geelong Cats (1859) are among the oldest continuous sporting clubs in the world.

The game's initial strength in its formative years was in the southern and western regions of Australia with organised senior state-level competitions in existence since the 1870s and expansion into the northern states for more than a century.

The current AFL competition was originally known as the Victorian Football League (VFL). It was founded in 1896 as a breakaway competition from the Victorian Football Association (VFA), with its inaugural season commencing the following year.

The VFL, aiming to become a national competition, began expanding beyond Victoria to other Australian states in the 1980s, and changed its name to the AFL in 1990. New teams were added in time from Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, while the original senior state league competitions in SA (the SANFL) and WA (the WAFL), continue to this day, but no longer as the primary competitions in their respective regions with state-based teams as part of the AFL.

Since its beginnings, Australian Football has maintained a high proportion of female supporters. It also has many Indigenous footballers playing at the elite level. 

The game is played between two sides of 18 (16 for women's competitions), with four reserve players (five for women), on an oval between 160-180m in length and 90-120m in width. Scoring is with six points for a major score and one point for a minor score with seasons running between 18 and 22 weeks, followed by a finals (playoff) series to determine the ultimate winner of the competition.

More than one million Australians are members of an elite AFL club, representing approximately one in 26 Australians, while television audiences number more than seven million per year. 

The AFL season currently consists of a 23-round regular (or 'home and away') season, which runs during the Australian winter (March to September). The top-eight teams then play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFL Grand Final, which is held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Grand Final winner is awarded the premiership cup.

The AFLW season currently consists of a 10-round regular (or 'home and away') season, which runs from August to November. The top-eight teams then play off in a four-round finals series, culminating in the AFLW Grand Final, which is held at venue of the highest-ranked qualifier. The Grand Final winner is awarded the premiership cup.