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36ers owner puts Crows job back on agenda

Football

Businessman and Adelaide 36ers owner Grant Kelley has put himself back in the frame for the soon-to-be-vacant Crows chairmanship, telling reporters he’s been approached – and remains interested in the role.

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That’s despite ruling it out just last month – after an approach was first revealed by InDaily – and influential figures at the club understood to have long ruled him out of their plans.

Fronting the media to promote the establishment of a new ‘Return to Competition Taskforce’ ahead of the 36ers’ 2020-21 NBL season, Kelley was asked today if he was interested in the Crows chairmanship and “have you been approached”, answering: “Yes and yes.”

“For me and my family, the Crows are an institution in our lives – we love the footy club,” he said.

“We’ve been regulars at the games for many, many years [but] my key thing with the Crows is just how to contribute…

“I have had a chat with a couple of the guys there just to see how that could occur, but nothing concrete yet.”

Asked how he could balance his oversight of ASX-listed Vicinity Centres, the 36ers and the Crows, he said: “I haven’t really turned my mind to it”, but noted “they do play alternate seasons”.

“From my perspective the Adelaide Football Club’s a labour of love, in whatever capacity I can contribute… it’s something I’m passionate about and care deeply about,” he said.

“Sport plays a huge role in helping people sometimes forget their daily lives, and that’s why the job is so interesting at the Adelaide Footy Club.”

However, he said the club was undergoing a “systematised process… well managed and led by [board member] Jim Hazel”, with whom he met last month, as reported by InDaily.

“I’m very relaxed about their decision making process and the timing,” he said.

Long-time chairman Rob Chapman has frequently asserted that he would stand aside at the end of this year.

A club spokesman said today in response to his comments that “as part of the thorough process, we are currently reaching out to those who have expressed interest in the role, as well as those who we feel have the necessary skills, qualities and experience”.

“We intend to announce a new Chairman by the end of the year,” the club said.

But it remains highly unlikely Kelley will be part of that announcement.

InDaily first revealed approaches to Kelley, who has garnered support from club stalwarts including inaugural CEO Bill Sanders and premiership ruckman Shaun Rehn, in June.

Last month, however, he ruled himself out of contention after getting the cold shoulder from key decision-makers.

At the time he told InDaily: “My analysis, and my concern in taking on the role, is not based on what’s happening off the field but based on what’s happening on the field – which tells me the turnaround of the club will be significant and very time-consuming for whichever individual takes on the role.”

It’s understood he has since had further approaches from people connected with the club, and from today’s comments appears to have softened his stance against joining the board.

However, InDaily has previously reported strong opposition to such a move from some key members of the hierarchy.

Crows deputy chair Jim Hazel said in June that while Kelley was “welcome to come and talk to us… I think we know our way around the sporting landscape pretty well in SA, but Grant’s not someone I know well”.

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