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Olsen asked to lead Crows


EXCLUSIVE | Former State Premier and SANFL president John Olsen has been asked to become the Adelaide Football Club chairman, Michelangelo Rucci reports.

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John Olsen is being asked to be the new chairman of the Adelaide Football Club, succeeding the Crows’ longest-serving leader Rob Chapman.

InDaily has confirmed Olsen has been approached to become the Crows’ fifth chairman, after Chapman sits at his last board meeting on November 18.

Olsen preferred to make no public comment today.

Chapman at the weekend, after sitting at his last Crows game at Adelaide Oval, told InDaily that he would anoint: “Someone who is exceptional – someone who has experience, gravitas, worldliness and everyone will trust.

“The greatest legacy you can leave is putting someone in your chair who is better than you. Of this, I am 100 per cent comfortable.”

Olsen, 75, is expected to take up a short-term appointment as Crows chairman.

He will return to a senior role in Australian football after leaving the SANFL presidency and chairmanship of the SA Football Commission in February.

Olsen’s time capacity to deal with an unpaid role that can demand as many as 70 hours a week is increased with his move from the presidency of the SA Liberal Party to take charge of the national political arm of the Liberals.

Olsen was State Premier from November 1996 to October 2001.

He emerges from a field of reluctant and rebuffed candidates including banker Jamie McPhee, former AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson, Glenelg president Peter Carey, premiership player David Pittman, former federal minister Christopher Pyne and Adelaide 36ers owner Grant Kelley.

In recent weeks it has been repeatedly said in football circles that the Crows would appoint a new chairman with football experience – a candidate “many will be pleasantly surprised” with his decision to accept the role.

Olsen’s appointment will be greeted by the old guard of SA football who want the Crows to restore “club culture” ahead of corporate strategies.

Olsen, a devotee of SANFL club West Adelaide, took the SANFL presidency in 2010. He was the No.1 ticket holder at West Adelaide for 17 years.

In between the State premiership and SANFL presidency, Olsen was the Australian Consul-General to Los Angeles and New York.

Chapman tonight will preside over his last Malcolm Blight Medal presentation to the Crows club champion, in a season in which Adelaide had just three wins from 17 matches and collected its first wooden spoon in 30 years of national football.

Chapman leaves the Crows as its longest-serving chairman, from 2009-2020. Inaugural chairman, the late Bob Hammond served from the club’s inception in November 1990 to 2000. He was succeeded by Bob Campbell, 2001-2003. Inaugural chief executive Bill Sanders preceded Chapman as chairman from 2003-2008.

For the rest of the AFL season, you can read news and insights from Michelangelo Rucci – SA’s most experienced and credible football writer – every Friday in InDaily.

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