Eddie McGuire's staggering claim amid uncertainty around Gillon McLachlan

The former Collingwood president has addressed the situation surrounding the AFL CEO.

Eddie McGuire, pictured here alongside Gillon McLachlan.
Eddie McGuire believes the AFL commission wants Gillon McLachlan to stay on as CEO. Image: Getty

Eddie McGuire has made startling claims that the AFL commission wants Gillon McLachlan to stay on as CEO despite him announcing his resignation over 12 months ago. McLachlan announced in April last year that he was stepping down from his post, but would remain in the role until a replacement was found.

The league boss said he wanted to spend more time with his family after leading the AFL through the tumultuous Covid-19 pandemic, which saw him pour hours of his time and effort into keeping the game afloat and financially viable. He also said he wanted to help the league negotiate its new TV rights deal, and eventually brokered a new $4.5 billion broadcast deal with Channel 7, Foxtel and Telstra until the end of 2031.

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But more than one year on from his announcement, McLachlan is still occupying the role that he said he would vacate. Speaking on Footy Classified last week, former Collingwood president McGuire said he thinks Andrew Dillon will be announced as the new AFL CEO, “if on the small chance Gill McLachlan doesn’t stay on".

McGuire said he believed there was a 10 per cent chance that McLachlan would stay, but on Monday he claimed that number has increased. “I reckon it might be a bit more now,” he said on the 'Eddie and Jimmy' podcast. “I still believe that (the commission) want Gill.

“I think what they have to do is swallow pride in that they’re going to get a kicking one way or the other. But if Gill’s the bloke, then keep him. That’s not a change from the commission, they’ve always wanted that."

Gillon McLachlan, pictured here speaking to fans before an AFL game.
Gillon McLachlan speaks to fans before an AFL game.. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Will Gillon McLachlan stay on as AFL CEO?

McGuire suggested McLachlan may have had a change of heart after the chaos surrounding the pandemic quietened down. "Maybe Gill’s just had a bit of time to get over Covid. People don’t understand how hard it was," he added.

“He was exhausted at the end of it. Don’t forget he was getting a belting. There was a lot of pressure doing the TV deal. The TV deal takes a massive stone out of your shoe, because you haven't got News Limited driving you mad, you haven't got everything else going on [where] you make the wrong decision [and] you get your head kicked in.

"That's done and dusted there for a period of time. Now it gets back to being creative again."

McGuire said the AFL can't afford to lose people like Dillon if McLachlan stays. Reports have also emerged that fixtures boss Travis Auld was interviewed on Monday for the role of CEO of the Australian Grand Prix.

"What they've got to do now is go 'Right, it's got to be completely restructured'," McGuire said. "It is a different flowchart, a different organisation, and Gil if he stays, can sit above that. At the moment Gil is all things to all men, and he is great on his feet, but we actually need to get to the full stop and the comma on a few of these things."

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