Former VFL president Aylett dies

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Respected Australian Rules administrator and North Melbourne great Dr Allen Aylett has died, aged 88.

Aylett's family said the former VFL president died peacefully in his sleep on Friday morning and they had been by his side earlier in the week.

As a player, Aylett played 220 games for North Melbourne between 1952-64 and was a was a three-time club champion and dual All-Australian.

Aylett was named the fourth greatest player in North Melbourne's history and was the forward pocket in the Kangaroos' team of the century.

But he was best known for his work as an administrator.

Aylett took over as North Melbourne president in 1971 and presided over the Kangaroos until 1976.

His tenure included recruiting Ron Barassi as coach, a move which delivered North Melbourne's first VFL premiership in 1975 and its second two years later.

"No single individual has had a greater impact on the North Melbourne Football Club than Dr Allen Aylett," North Melbourne president Dr Sonja Hood said in a statement.

Aylett then led the VFL as president from 1977 until 1984, in a tenure that contributed heavily towards the league's ultimate expansion into a national competition.

During Aylett's tenure, the VFL began playing premiership matches outside of Victoria, primarily in New South Wales, which ultimately led to South Melbourne's relocation to Sydney.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan hailed Aylett as an innovator and "a giant of our game" while AFL commission chair Richard Goyder said he was a "keystone" of the now-national competition.

"His drive and ambition for the game to be as great as it could be opened new boundaries for our sport, and started the difficult but important steps to build the national competition we see today," Goyder said in a statement.

"In many ways, he was the father of the national competition and a visionary who saw the game expanding across all parts of Australia."

Aylett ended his career in administration after serving as North Melbourne as president for a second stint from 2001 to 2005.

He is survived by his wife Marj, children Tony, Rick, Julie, Sam and their families.