Collingwood in chaos after embarrassing board member bungle

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Dr Bridie O'Donnell, pictured here wearing a Western Bulldogs jersey.
Dr Bridie O'Donnell was made a member of the Collingwood board despite being ineligible. Image: Twitter

Veteran AFL journalist Mark Robinson has torched Collingwood's boardroom mess after the club admitted new director Bridie O'Donnell isn't actually eligible for the role.

It was revealed on Wednesday that Dr O'Donnell hasn't been a Collingwood member for the required 24 months, meaning she won't be able to vote.

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Dr O’Donnell was announced as a new director of the club on Tuesday after vice-president Alex Waislitz stood down.

But she only joined as a club member in February of 2020, meaning she's ineligible to vote because she hasn't met the 24-month requirement.

The Collingwood Football Club‘s constitution states: “No member shall be qualified for election as a member of the board unless he (or she) shall have been a member of the club for at least 24 months immediately prior to nomination.”

Her fellow board members can grant Dr O'Donnell voting rights at the club's Annual General Meeting, but that won't be held until after the 2021 season finishes.

That means she won't have a say on the future of current coach Nathan Buckley.

“This is just calamity upon calamity,” Robinson said on Fox Footy on Wednesday night.

“When you announce that the vice-president’s going, and then you announce we’ve got these new people coming in ... and it’s revealed she shouldn’t be on the board.

“Then they’ve sent out a press release saying, nah nah, it’s alright she’s not going to vote. Well, what the hell’s she doing on the board?

“The board’s going to be deciding on Nathan Buckley at some stage. ‘Righto, here’s the recommendation from Graham Wright, do you want to vote Bridie? Oh, hang on, I’m not allowed to vote’.

“Seriously, how does this happen?”

Bridie O'Donnell, pictured here with artist Tayla Broekman and cricket star Ellyse Perry.
Bridie O'Donnell (right) with artist Tayla Broekman and cricket star Ellyse Perry ahead of the T20 World Cup in 2020. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Fans fume over photo of Bridie O'Donnell

Some fans were also left fuming on Wednesday when photos emerged on social media of Dr O'Donnell wearing a Western Bulldogs jersey.

AFL 360 co-host Gerard Whateley said the situation was a mess.

"Once it was clear that the constitution of Collingwood which is unequivocal that you have to be a member for at least 24 months to occupy this position. And then Collingwood just quibbling around the edges, ‘well she is eligible to be on the board, she’s just not eligible to vote’. It posed a couple of questions,” he said on Fox Footy.

“One, why the rush to appoint a board member with full voting rights with a board member who has no voting rights?

“And why would you run a process with 80 candidates, to filter down to the end and choose one who’s not yet eligible? There’s a time when Dr O’Donnell’s expertise will serve them extremely well, and that’s February next year (when she’s eligible).”

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The former elite road cyclist responded to the criticism on Wednesday.

“For people who really are rusted on, I totally get why they don’t see that that’s something that aligns with how they think about it,” she told Neil Mitchell on 3AW.

“But this is about working through with a really amazing group of people on the board, how we’re going to support the club, the members, the employees implement all the recommendations from the Do Better report.

“People who are concerned I’m not enough of a fan, I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to change their mind, but I’m going to do my best for the club.

"I just want to make it clear that I’m very happy to be here. I’m a fan and I’m a member and I’m looking forward to contributing to the board because that’s what my skills are.

“I’m not here to be the hardest barracker, I‘m actually here to help contribute to discussions and support our president and our two terrific vice presidents.

“I’ve been appointed to the board and, like anyone, will go through a process when there‘s an AGM next year."

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