Striking look at AFL lifts veil of power and politics engulfing Australia’s biggest sport

The rampant abuse of power and old-school politics that have long plagued the AFL – Australia’s most powerful and professional sports organization – has been exposed by an award-winning journalist.

Melbourne-based sports journalist Michael Warner wrote an explosive statement – The boys club – which reveals how untouchable the AFL administration is indeed and reveals the continued mistreatment of countless female employees.

Warner also details other scandals in the sport, including the infamously managed Essendon ASADA drug scandal of 2013, and the AFL’s deplorable handling in relation to the illicit drug culture involving several West Coast Eagles players.

The Melbourne Demons deliberately “ tanked ” a series of games in 2009 to receive priority draft picks the following season, and how the sport fell to its knees financially during the Covid pandemic last year is also explored in detail.

Author Michael Warner describes current gaming boss Gillon McLachlan as a ‘ruthless chord maker – but someone who also compulsively wants to be loved’

In award-winning journalist Michael Warner's book, focus is on the continued mistreatment of AFL employees (stock image)

In award-winning journalist Michael Warner’s book, focus is on the continued mistreatment of AFL employees (stock image)

The sometimes questionable conduct of former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (pictured) is also described in Warner's book The Boys Club.

The sometimes questionable conduct of former AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou (pictured) is also described in Warner’s book The Boys Club.

In an explosive development, Warner’s book also details how the AFL House as well as state bodies and 18 professional clubs have repeatedly used financial deals and confidentiality agreements to prevent employees from reporting the code. billion dollar sport.

According to The Australian, at least 14 AFL employees – including one male – have left the organization in the past nine years due to repeated bullying, bad behavior or harassment.

One woman even considered killing herself when her job ended. She received a payment of $ 50,000 after signing a confidentiality agreement following allegations of bullying.

McLachlan hit back at Warner’s explosive claims, denying that the AFL ever signed any nondisclosure agreements.

“If there is a complaint or an incident it is taken seriously … during my time the AFL has in no way ignored or dismissed a formal complaint or tried to silence people,” he said. he said in a statement.

“ During my time as CEO, the AFL never used non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to try to silence victims or stop complainants from telling their story. ”

In Warner’s captivating book, which is expected to leave a number of top AFL executives in shock, an employee revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a male colleague at work in 2017.

“ He pushed his hand quite high (on my skirt). That would have been in keeping with… you know… you never forget where a creep hits you, ”she told Warner.

The author then said human resources investigated the matter, with the forward stepping down from his role – but not before finding a job at a rival sports organization.

The victim, who received a payment of just $ 17,000 – was subsequently bullied and told Warner she had not been able to keep a permanent full-time job due to mental health issues arising from his previous employment with the AFL.

Other women accepted payments of $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 after signing nondisclosure agreements.

Speaking at Warner’s book launch in Melbourne this week, Hawthorn chairman Jeff Kennett said the AFL, led by CEO Gillon McLachlan, should be held responsible for multiple cases of backward behavior.

“The contents of this book are confrontational and cannot be ignored by the AFL Commission and (fellow) club presidents,” he said.

Investigative reporter Michael Warner has written a compelling book that exposes the AFL's belly (pictured by Richmond superstar Dustin Martin)

Investigative reporter Michael Warner has written a compelling book that exposes the AFL’s belly (pictured by Richmond superstar Dustin Martin)

The Boys¿ Club follows the rise of the modern AFL administration, their network of connections and the scandals that have rocked the game (photo, book cover)

The Boys’ Club follows the rise of the modern AFL administration, their network of connections and the scandals that have rocked the game (pictured, book cover)

“This book lists a whole series of failures, there are conflicts of interest within the Commission and within the administration.

“There are countless examples of bullying, there are inconsistent applications of AFL policies, there is a lack of accountability.

“ But perhaps worst of all is the appalling treatment of many female employees for so many years and because the AFL doesn’t respond to anyone it’s really a law in itself. ”

McLachlan succeeded Andrew Demetriou as AFL CEO in 2014, after having been his deputy.

Warner describes the current boss of the game as a “ ruthless business creator – but someone who also compulsively wants to be loved. ”

Warner, a reporter for the Herald Sun, also revealed that the failed move to poach rugby league stars Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt from 2009 was a deliberate attempt to tap into the sports markets dominated by the rugby league. western Sydney and on the Gold Coast at the time.

Hawthorn chairman Jeff Kennett (pictured) said the AFL, led by CEO Gillon McLachlan, should be held responsible for several cases of backward behavior.

Hawthorn chairman Jeff Kennett (pictured) said the AFL, led by CEO Gillon McLachlan, should be held responsible for several cases of backward behavior.

Warner also asks why AFL clubs Geelong, Gold Coast and Melbourne evaded doping sanctions after Essendon had his players banned in 2016 and his coach James Hird hung out on drug offenses deemed similar by many.

The boys club concludes by analyzing how the code responded to the Covid pandemic last year.

After publicly ridiculing their NRL counterparts for boldly declaring a date to resume competition on May 28 in 2020, the red-faced AFL was forced to gaze longingly at the chairman of the Australian Rugby Union Commission (ARLC) Peter V’landys delivered his noble speech. to promise.

Eventually, the AFL returned on June 11 – in a shortened season – with all the competition based in Queensland.

The AFL later revealed it had recorded a loss of $ 22.8 million for the year, with Warner claiming the season was ‘saved’ due to a state election in Queensland last October.

He believes Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is involved in the AFL’s campaign in the Sunshine State to get taxpayer votes.

The Boys Club ‘ is available at all good bookstores for $ 32.99.


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