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AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick says chief executive Andrew Demetriou deserves the $1.8 million he earned last year after delivering some major gains for the sport.
Demetriou’s salary – including superannuation and performance bonuses – was made public as part of a report into the league’s key achievements over the past year, released on Wednesday.
The other 10 members of the AFL executive made a total of $5.02 million.
Fitzpatrick said they had guided the game through a difficult financial period in which they were able to deliver a record revenue figure of $303.5 million, up $1.4 million from 2008.
They also struck some important stadium deals both with governments and stadium operators, Fitzpatrick said.
“The executive team, under Andrew Demetriou, has taken the game through a difficult period,” he said.
“During that time (they have) managed to secure $116 million funding for the Gold Coast stadium, renegotiated the MCG and Etihad stadium contracts, which will see more than $150 million returned to AFL clubs across the life of the contracts, and also secured a promise of $450 million from the SA Government to redevelop Adelaide Oval.
“Their work has ensured the AFL is not only the leading sport in the country, but one that is committed to growing our game at every level.”
The AFL had an operating surplus of $213.5 million for 2009, of which $135.8 million was distributed to the AFL clubs.
They also broke records for the membership of AFL clubs, which totalled 586,748, for participation in the sport (732,803) and in the kids football program Auskick (169,000).
The league said the 3.848 million people who watched last year’s grand final between Geelong and St Kilda also made it the year’s most watched television program in Australia.