1985-1993 – The Advent of the AFL Commission

Taken entirely from the 1996 AFL Annual Report

December 4, 1985 is one of the most significant dates in the history of football because it forever changed the way football is administered.

On that date the VFL Board of Directors voted to appoint a commission with specific powers to run the competition. Before that historic vote, the competition had been run by a board of directors consisting of a representative from each club.

The vote by the board of directors referred all powers and responsibilities to the Commission to run the competition with the following exceptions where the clubs retained the power:

  • to admit any club, or expel or suspend any club
  • to amalgamate or join any other league
  • to take over the administration of any additional football club
  • to approve the move of clubs out of Victoria
  • to provide any financial assistance to any club (other than by payments of advances of dividends) or to guarantee the obligations of any club.
  • except as expressly authorised in any budget approved by the Board of Directors, to purchase or dispose any capital asset with a cost of more than $100,000.
  • except as expressly authorised in any budget approved by the Board of Directors, to borrow any money otherwise than for the ordinary purposes of the league or give any security for any such borrowing.
  • to undertake any major capital works (including major works in relation to existing assets of the league) involving a total expenditure of more than $100,000
  • to exercise any of the powers of the League in owning any television or radio station.
  • to appoint representatives of the league on the National Football Championships Pty Ltd
  • to amend any laws of the game.

That structure continued until August 11 1992, when the AFL Board of Directors accepted a recommendation from the AFL Commission to conduct  an independent review of the AFL administrative structure. Mr David Crawford, a senior partner of KPMG was subsequently appointed to conduct the review.

On July 19, 1993, the Board of Directors unanimously approved new Memorandum and Articles of Association which reflected the recommendations of the Crawford Report.

The Date was effectively the last meeting of the Board of Directors as the Crawford Report recommended that all powers and responsibilities to run the competition be referred to the AFL Commission.

The Clubs however retain specific powers in relation to the admission, relocation and merging of clubs.

Any decision by the commission to admit or relocate a club or approve the merger of clubs can be reversed by the clubs at a duly constituted meeting of clubs called within 14 days  of receiving formal notice of a Commission decision to admit, relocate or approve a merger of clubs.

A two thirds majority is required to overturn  any such decision by the commission. Three clubs may requisition  a meeting of clubs to reverse a decision by the Commission to admit or relocate or approve a merge of clubs. Clubs cannot be merged unless the clubs who are party to the merger first agree.

Clubs also have a reserve power on the possible expulsion of a club from the competition. Any decision by the Commission to expel a club must be ratified at a general meeting of clubs by a simple majority.

While the AFL Commission was given wider powers to run the game when the recommendations of the Crawford Report were adopted, Clubs retained the right to appoint the Commission.

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