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Ball pays tribute to Finnis

The President of the Players’ Association, Luke Ball, today announced that the Board of the ‘PA has accepted Matt Finnis’ resignation as Chief Executive Officer.

Mr Finnis has accepted the position of CEO of the St Kilda Football Club.

“It is with sadness that the Board of the AFL Players’ Association has accepted Matt Finnis’ resignation, but we are also proud that the leaders of the ’PA consistently move on to leadership positions within the industry,” Luke said.

“Matt’s contribution to the Association over 9 years of service has delivered a great legacy – and present and future players will benefit from his work.”

Mr Finnis commenced at the AFL Players’ Association in April 2005 and has been CEO since 2009. Matt’s significant achievements over that period include:

The introduction of free agency into the AFL competition;

– Negotiation of $1.1billion dollar Collective Bargaining Agreement;
– Establishment of the first annuity retirement program for athletes in Australian sport;
– Establishment of $2million AFL Players Trust to support former players;
– Chairing the players’ charity Ladder through expansion of programs and services for homeless youth;
– Establishment of a world-class financial literacy program for elite athletes; and
– Building the resource and capacity base of the Association to optimise services to its members

“Throughout his tenure Matt has supported players navigate numerous complex negotiations, commercial, industrial and integrity issues which inevitably arise both in society but also in sport.

“A feature of his leadership has been to encourage a strong moral compass and ethical approach to decision making,” Luke said.

Mr Finnis said today: “It has been an absolute privilege to serve the players, who are not just elite professional athletes but fine young men.”

“The focus of the Players’ Association has been to champion the interests of the players and the game.  This has not always been easy, popular or without conflict but hopefully people will respect the Association for the manner it represents its members, always with the long-term best interests of the game at heart.

“I have had the opportunity to work with the leaders of this generation – people like Brendan Gale, Peter Bell, Joel Bowden, Brett Burton, Luke Power, Luke Ball and Matthew Pavlich and many others who have been committed to enhancing the lives of players and growing the game.  As well, I have been surrounded by a team of wonderfully talented and dedicated professionals who work at the ‘PA.”

“The Association has come a long way in 40 years, and it has been my privilege to have a role in helping build a respected and effective organisation which is well placed to tackle the challenges of the future, and to further the opportunities for both the players and the game.”

“The Association will always be owned and governed by the players – that is its strength and foundation.  Its success relies on the engagement of the members in the Association’s agenda and I’m proud of the work we have done to harness the collective strength of our members for the benefit of their profession, but also the game and the community.”

“That the current and emerging leadership of AFL players recognise their role in creating a workplace which will benefit those who follow in their footsteps gives me great confidence in the further achievements which lie ahead.”

The Board of the AFL Players’ Association met on Monday and has asked Mr Finnis to continue in the CEO role until the current review of equalisation policies and player payments are completed, expected over the coming couple of months.

The review will be overseen by representatives of the Board, AFL Players’ Association Advisory Board and senior ‘PA executives, with Mr Finnis providing advisory support as required.

Mr Ball said that the Board of the AFL Players’ Association would shortly appoint an executive search firm to commence the recruitment process for a new Chief Executive and hope to have the position filled in the coming months.  Players’ Association executive Ian Prendergast will assume the role of Acting CEO during any intervening period between Mr Finnis’ departure and the appointment of a permanent replacement.