AFLPA adds new life members

The AFL Players’ Association Board will award life membership of the AFL Players’ Association to Ray Wilson OAM and Brendon Gale at Thursday night’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Wilson and Gale have been acknowledged for their extraordinary contribution to the AFL Players’ Association over an extended period of time.

Wilson was a member of the AFL Players’ Association’s Advisory Board for 20 years, including two as the chair, providing guidance to a number of successful CEOs, including Andrew Demetriou, Robert Kerr, Gale, Matt Finnis and Paul Marsh

Gale is the only person to serve as both President and CEO of the AFLPA, filling those roles during a time of strong growth for the association.

Current AFL Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh paid tribute to the new life members, who will be honoured at Thursday night’s season celebration event to follow the AGM.

“Ray and Brendon both left a significant legacy during their time serving the AFLPA,” he said.

“Not only was Ray a sounding board for many leaders of this business, he oversaw the formation of the Player Retirement Scheme, which is a critically important resource for all retired players.”

“Brendon had the skills to bridge the gap from athlete to administrator in just three years and the AFLPA took some significant steps forward under his leadership. It’s no surprise he’s gone on to become a successful CEO at the Tigers.”

There are now 11 life members in the AFLPA’s 46-year history with Wilson and Gale joining Geoff Pryor, Don Scott, Gareth Andrews, Peter Allen, Michael Moncrieff, Justin Madden, Simon Madden, Neil Hamilton and David McKay.

Ray Wilson OAM

  • 105 games for Hawthorn from 1966-1972
  • Member of the 1971 premiership team
  • Member of the AFL Players’ Association Advisory Board from its formation in 1998 to the end of 2017, serving as chair for two years
  • Chair of the Player Retirement Scheme Sub-Committee from its formation in 2004 until 2017, with the fund now totalling $138 million

Brendon Gale

  • 244 games with the Richmond Football Club
  • AFLPA executive member and Richmond club delegate
  • President from 2000 until the end of 2002
  • Member of the Player Retirement Account Board in 2003
  • In 2004 he was appointed to the role as the GM of Operations
  • He took over as CEO from Robert Kerr in 2004, holding the position until 2009

Highlights during Gale’s time at the AFLPA as both president and CEO include:

  • The negotiation of a five-year CBA deal covering seasons 2007-11, which delivered a 25 per cent increase to the total player payments
  • Player development was brought in house at the AFLPA
  • The establishment of a past players hardship fund
  • A charity policy was developed
  • The negotiation of long service leave for players
  • Establishment of alumni membership as a category
  • The Madden Medal was introduced