Andrew Ireland looks on during the unveiling of the Bob Skilton sculpture at Lakeside Stadium on July 26, 2018. Picture: AFL Photos

AFL Chairman, Richard Goyder today announced the appointment of two new AFL Commissioners who will take up their role on the code’s governing body at its next meeting in October.

Mr Goyder said experienced AFL club administrator and Sydney Swans Board member Andrew Ireland and former GWS Giants and Fremantle midfielder Matt de Boer will join the AFL Commission after being endorsed by the Commission today and will be subject to an election by the 18 clubs at the AGM in March 2024.

Mr Goyder said the two new Commissioners bring strong playing and administration experience to the Commission as well as also bringing recent club experience to the AFL.

“The game is strong at the moment with record attendances, record memberships and record engagement with our supporters but the Commission’s job is to have an eye to the future and to ensuring that Australian Football continues to grow at both the elite AFL and AFLW level and at community level,” Mr Goyder said.

“Andrew and Matt bring a great mix of club and football playing and administration experience across four states that gives them an insight into both how we play the game and also how we support the growth of the game and engage communities who currently are not connected to our game.”

“They are also leaders with strong values and strong views who are passionate about our game and what it needs to do to continue to be the game of choice for Australia’s best athletes.”

Matt de Boer acknowledges the crowd after GWS' match against Fremantle at Manuka Oval on August 20, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

After an 110-game playing career with Collingwood, Andrew Ireland has had more than three decades of administration experience, particularly working to grow the game in Queensland and NSW.

He was General Manager of AFL Queensland before being appointed CEO of the Brisbane Lions (formerly Brisbane Bears) from 1990-2001 before moving to Sydney Swans in 2002 where he was appointed General Manager of Football before taking on the role of CEO in 2009 where he stayed until his retirement in 2018.

Mr Ireland served as a Director of the Sydney Swans since 2011 and stepped down to take up his role on the Commission. He was a member of the AFL Competition committee (2018-2022) and Deputy Chair for the Australian Sports Commission where he has been a director since 2018. He has a Bachelor of Science.

Matt de Boer joins the Commission after retiring at the end of 2022 following 223 AFL games, including 138 with Fremantle and 85 games with GWS Giants. He was a member of his clubs' leadership groups for all but four years of his 14-year AFL career and also served as an AFLPA player delegate.

Mr de Boer, who has a Bachelor of Commerce from University of Western Australia, co-founded venture capital firm Athletic Ventures in 2020. Athletic Ventures is a private equity investment syndicate of current and former elite athletes that partner with world-class entrepreneurs building high-growth technology and consumer companies.

ANDREW IRELAND: “I am very honoured to join the Commission and my view is the Commission plays such an important role as the independent body guiding the code and providing oversight. The experience I have had over the journey playing firstly for a big club in Victoria and then being involved as CEO at Brisbane and Sydney will be beneficial in helping the game to grow.”

MATT DE BOER: “I am excited and also humbled by becoming a member of the Commission and bring a contemporary lens of football and specifically the ups and downs of an AFL footy career over 14 years at two clubs and two states. Hopefully I can bring an insight into playing in both an established market with Freo and an emerging market with the Giants.”

Mr Goyder thanked the nominations committee for their time and effort during the selection process. The nominations committee includes AFL Commissioner Simone Wilkie AO, Port Adelaide President David Koch, Sydney Swans President Andrew Pridham, Western Bulldogs President Kylie Watson- Wheeler, Andrew Wellington (Brisbane Lions) and Dale Alcock (Fremantle).