MAJOR ISSUES DURING MIKE FITZPATRICK’S TIME IN CHARGE OF THE AFL
2007 – West Coast’s substance abuse dominates the AFL agenda following their flag win. Ben Cousins is later banned for 12 months. North Melbourne’s relocation to the Gold Coast fails.
2008 – The AFL wins support from all 16 clubs to set up two new expansion teams on the Gold Coast and in Western Sydney.
2009 – Melbourne’s quest for a priority pick leads to long-running ‘taking’ investigation. The AFL hands down a $500,000 fine in 2013.
2010 – The drawn Grand Final brings calls for the AFL to introduce extra time in the decider. The Commission adopts the measure six years later.
2011 – The AFL signs a record five-year $1.25b broadcast rights deal. Senior players are embroiled in the so-call ‘ St Kilda schoolgirl scandal’. The sub rule is introduced.
2012 – Greater Western Sydney enters the AFL a year after the Gold Coast Suns. The AFL introduces free agency.
2013 – An Australian Crime Commission report sparks a long-running AFL/ASADA investigation into a club-sanctioned doping regime at Essendon. New Zealand hosts the first overseas home-and-away match.
2014 – The AFL Commission introduces equalisation measures – including a soft cap on football spending – and scraps Sydney’s cost of living allowance. Andrew Demetriou is replaced as chief executive by Gillon McLachlan.
2015 – The AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal decides against banning the 34 past and present Essendon players. The AFL match review panel is overhauled and the sub is scrapped.
2016 – The Court of Arbitration for Sport overturns that decision, handing down 12-month bans for all players involved.
2017 – AFL Women’s competition is launched to significant fanfare. Fitzpatrick resigns a day out from the start of the AFL pre-season competition.