AFL 2024: Former CEO Gillon McLachlan set to be new Racing Victoria chair, back fighting with NRL boss Peter V’landys, latest news

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Former AFL boss Gillon McLachlan is in the box seat to be the new chairman of Racing Victoria.

Punters can confirm that while McLachlan has not yet officially accepted the position, he is the preferred candidate of Victoria’s Racing Minister, Anthony Carbines.

Carbines’ office would not comment on Monday afternoon. However, multiple sources confirmed McLachlan had beaten a field of more than 10 other candidates to be offered the position.

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McLachlan was first mooted as a likely replacement for former chairman Brian Kruger as early as August last year. Mike Hirst has been acting in the chairman’s role since last July.

If appointed, McLachlan would effectively go head-to-head with his old NRL sparring partner, Peter V’landys, in another sport.

On Sunday, Punters reported plans were advanced for the appointment of a new chairman to head the peak industry body’s board.

A refreshed board would then be put in place, but many industry leaders believe change has been insufficient and too slow.

Hirst and Greg Nichols, the longest serving director on the board, will vacate their positions before June 30.

Nichols’ term was due to expire in November but the administrator brought forward his departure to help the board renewal.

The metropolitan clubs, Victoria Racing Club, Melbourne Racing Club and Moonee Valley Racing Club, along with Country Racing Victoria, hold the majority of votes.

Former North Melbourne boss Ben Amarfio’s role, executive general manager customer, is also under scrutiny, among others.

McLachlan, who was the CEO of the AFL between June 2014 and October 2023, officially handed over the reins to Andrew Dillon after last year’s Grand Final.

Among McLachlan’s major achievements were a seven-year, $4.5bn extension to the AFL’s broadcast deal in September 2022, the launch of the AFLW in 2017, the creation of the league’s ‘Gather Round’ in Adelaide in 2023 plus record numbers in participation, membership and viewership.

He was also widely praised for his role in steering the AFL through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Even before he stepped into the top job, McLachlan played a big role under former CEO Andrew Demetriou in helping the expansion teams, Gold Coast Suns and GWS Giants, and delivering new stadiums for them.

This included the establishment of hubs in Queensland and South Australia, all while delivering a $200 million surplus to ensure all 18 teams survived.

He also helped keep the AFL’s showpiece game in its heartland. In 2018, McLachlan stuck a deal with the MCG worth nearly $500 million to keep the grand final at the venue until 2058, excluding the 2020 (Brisbane) and 2021 (Perth) deciders, which occurred during the pandemic.

This article was originally published at Punters and was republished with permission.

Originally published as Ex-AFL chief Gillon McLachlan set for major new role… and he’ll be fighting with the NRL boss again

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