Avarice, Fineprint and Lawyers: the AFL Annual Report (text now up)


I am pleased to be presenting the AFL Annual Report to corporate bond holders (you will recall that stakeholders were dispensed with several years ago as part of our corporate reengineering).

This has been a record breaking year on all fronts for AFL.  The year commenced with last year’s Fevola Medal winners – Mr Tippett and the Adelaide Crows franchise – holidaying in the South of France for 6 months as their reward for services rendered to Avarice, Fineprint & Lawyers.

Turnover was slow early in the year, with our Semantic Solipsism Division largely keeping the firm afloat with their ground breaking definitional work in the Melbourne Tanking inquiry.  The $0.5M generated for being found not guilty in not doing what they had been accused of in not trying to win, was a big win for fans of the double negative and non-sequiters generally.

Things improved markedly with the Essendon Drugs Inquiry which culminated a neat ‘closed doors’ settlement with both the Club and their Senior Managers providing $2M in fines plus legal costs (which understandably dwarfed the fines revenue).  The non-disclosure agreement arising from the guilty pleas naturally results in me being restricted in my comments.  Suffice to say that the Essendon franchise had a commitment to management, governance and record keeping not seen in this field since the glory days of James Hardie.  The inability to differentiate his armpit from his fundamental orifice showed that their former leader could have won another Brownlow if he had maintained that level of performance on the field.

At the AFL’s organisational level, the CEO and a number of senior executives and corporate bond holders undertook an extensive fact finding mission to research competitive equalisation and salary caps in the US and Europe.  Mr Chamberlain’s subsequent report “Peace in Our Time: Lessons from Bayern Munich” was seen as ground breaking when released in mid-year.

Recent skirmishes on the Polish border suggest we may have been a little premature in assuming the cessation of hostilities between our Northern and Southern franchises.  It appears that the matter may require further consideration, so we have asked the Chairs of the Board Audit and Compliance committee (G Edelsten – Sydney) and Legal Affairs committee (J Elliott – Carlton) to conciliate the issues.

They are currently in the United States speaking to Goldman Sachs, Madoff Accounting, Enron and other corporate leaders in the field.

The awarding of the 2013 Fevola Medal has been held over as there has been a late entry from colourful football identities connected with the Sydney Swans franchise.  We have engaged world’s best practice consultants (Armstrong and Rodriguez) to provide KPI’s and criteria for the AFL’s future deliberations.

Despite the AFL’s ground breaking achievements in 2013 there has been unwarranted criticism of the level of Executive remuneration.  While the Board considers this mostly unwarranted and uninformed, the AFL has always considered itself to be a leader in social engagement and corporate philanthropy.

To set an example for the wider community the CEO has agreed to halve his remuneration package to $1 million a year.  This is part of his renegotiated 30 year contract that will see the Great Helmsman providing his leadership, wisdom and experience to the AFL until well into his 80’s.  There are many overseas precedents in the IOC, FIFA, Korea and Zimbabwe.

Some short sighted people may regard this length of contract as unreasonable.  We see it as securing an exceptional talent at a bargain basement price amortised over the length of the investment.  Our corporate tax advisers have confirmed that with offsetting depreciation, age pension entitlements and nursing home benefits this is no more than you would pay for a semi-detached full forward in the current Sydney property market.

I can assure bond holders that under the current leadership the future of Avarice, Fineprint & Lawyers has never looked brighter.

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