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Senior AFL executives resign over ‘inappropriate relationships’
Two senior AFL executives, Simon Lethlean and Richard Simkiss, have resigned from their positions as a result of "inappropriate relationships with two younger women who work in the AFL industry".
Announcing their departure, AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan advised "there were two men on my senior executive team who had inappropriate relationships with two younger women who work in the AFL industry.
"I'm not going to talk to specific details about anything other than to say, I've got a duty of care to a lot of people here.
"The men have taken accountability for their actions. They've owned these issues."
Lethlean was the AFL's Football Operations Manager and Simkiss the league's Commercial Manager.
In a prepared statement, Lethlean expressed remorse for his actions and apologised "for all the hurt and embarrassment" he caused.
His statement added "the relationship should never have happened. As a husband and a leader of this organisation it is up to me to set the example. What I did was wrong.
"I failed my wife, my family, my friends, my organisation and football by making the decision I have.
"I have hurt the people who are most important in my life and who I love. They have done nothing to deserve this.
"My priority now is to do everything I can to repair the damage and hurt I have caused my wife and my family and I cannot do this while working in this public role."
McLachlan (pictured above) said the AFL had been making meaningful strides forward in commitment to women in the game, and this was a situation that could not be taken lightly.
He stated that the departures of Lethlean and Simkiss were proof the league was turning words into actions, continuing "I'd say that we have more women than ever work in our industry, more women than ever work in head office. Three of the nine management team that report to me are women, they are owning this agenda with us.
"We feel that we've addressed the issues strongly today. And we'll continue to make change because it's a journey and we're not where we want to be yet."
McLachlan confirmed Andrew Dillon would step in as acting Football Manager, and Darren Burcher would take over as acting Commercial Manager.
Following last week’s resignation of its Head of Multicultural and Indigenous Partnerships Ali Fahour, these resignations will be a major challenge for the sport.
However, McLachlan stressed that upholding standards within the AFL was more important than morale, concluding “it will have an impact for a period, no doubt, I'm not going to shy away from that (as) I also know that there are expectations and that people expect them to be upheld."
23rd January 2017 - CROWD NUMBERS LEAD TO AFL VENUE CHANGE FOR WOMEN’S COMPETITION OPENER
15th November 2016 - AFL ADVISED TO PLAN FOR LONG TERM INTEREST IN WOMEN’S COMPETITION
16th September 2016 - AFL WOMEN’S ANNOUNCED AS NAME FOR NEW WOMEN’S COMPETITION
27th March 2016 - AFL PROGRAM ENCOURAGES CULTURAL DIVERSITY ON AND OFF THE FOOTBALL FIELD
26th September 2015 - PERTH STADIUM MANAGEMENT CONDEMN FAN VIOLENCE AT DOMAIN STADIUM
28th May 2015 - AFL SPORTSREADY LAUNCHES INAUGURAL RECONCILIATION ACTION PLAN
2nd June 2014 - AFL CONGRATULATED FOR BACKING RECONCILIATION INITIATIVES
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