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I wasn't pushed, says AFL boss


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Outgoing AFL chief Andrew Demetriou says he’s offended by a media report that he was pushed out of the top job.

Demetriou announced last week that 2014 would be his final year as chief executive, a position he has held since 2003.

Following a messy 2013 which included Essendon being fined $2 million and banned from that season’s finals series because of their use of supplements, critics have been gunning for the league chief.

Essendon coach James Hird’s 12-month suspension, handed down in August 2013, has also been a massive controversy for Demetriou.

A report in Saturday’s The Australian newspaper described Demetriou as a dead man walking because of the Essendon issue and said the possibility that he was pushed out the door by the AFL Commission had force.

“Yeah, well it offended me because it was wrong,” Demetriou told Fox Footy’s “On The Couch” program on Monday night.

“I had made the decision a long time ago. I’d actually told a few people confidentially.

“So I don’t know where he (journalist Patrick Smith) got that from. It’s just wrong.”

The AFL chief has also been heavily criticised in recent days following the league’s announcement that he received a salary in 2013 of $3.8 million.

The enormous salary includes a $2 million bonus.

“I’m a public figure and we’re just about a public company, the AFL,” Demetriou said of the focus on his earnings.

“The fact is that it was a bonus paid over a three-year period and it vested at the end of 2012. I had to stay for three years to earn the bonus.

“So it wasn’t paid for last season.

“It was paid in 2013 for what had occurred in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

“That gets lost in all the commentary, but that’s okay. It’s public.

“I’ve never hidden from what I get paid.

“But I certainly don’t pay myself.

“I get paid by the commission.”

Demetriou said the code was in a very strong financial position.

“When I started at the AFL, we had about 50 million dollars of debt,” he said.

“We have about 60 million dollars in the bank.

“We’ve restored the balance sheet.”

Demetriou said he was fielding job offers but wasn’t interested in staying in the sports industry.

“I’ve had a few approaches since last Monday,” he said.

“I’ve announced it early in the season that I’m going to be there for the season and that gives me time to assess what comes my way.”

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