The FFA has today confirmed CEO David Gallop will step down from his position in December.
Gallop was contracted until the end of next year, but it is understood he tendered his resignation and will leave the role a year early.
The news comes just weeks after the New Leagues Working Group (NWLG) reached an in-principle agreement with the FFA to secure commercial autonomy and independence for the A-League, leading to speculation the at-times maligned CEO would step down.
Joining after failed expansion attempts into North Queensland and the Gold Coast, Gallop oversaw the sale of the Western Sydney Wanderers – easily the league’s most successful expansion venture – to private owners in 2014.
He also introduced the FFA Cup competition in 2014, as well as overseeing the latest expansion process that added Western United and Macarthur Bulls to the A-League.
His relationship with football fans was often rocky, however. Active support groups often felt unfairly targeted by venue security and virtually unsupported by FFA during Gallop’s reign.
Gallop was previously the CEO of the NRL, having joined as legal affairs manager of the Super League in 1995. He left rugby league in 2012, joining football just months afterwards.
As NRL CEO, he oversaw the re-expansion of the league to 16 teams with the addition of the Gold Coast Titans in 2007. His time in charge was marred by two notable salary cap scandals.
In 2002, his first season in charge, the NRL docked the league-leading Canterbury Bulldogs of all their competition points following systemic cap breaches. The Bulldogs would have topped the ladder by seven points that season and would’ve been unbackable favourites to take home the premiership.
In 2010, he stripped the Melbourne Storm of their 2007 and 2009 premierships following salary cap breach revelations there, although he came under scrutiny over allegations the penalties were enforced before a proper investigation was completed. He also fell out of favour with Storm fans after crudely comparing them to terrorists after they booed him in 2011.
FFA will make the announcement official later this afternoon.
MORE TO COME