Media Release

John Olsen honoured with League’s highest accolade

Outgoing Chair of the SA Football Commission The Hon. John Olsen AO has been honoured with League Life Membership for his contribution and service to football in South Australia.

Mr Olsen was awarded the League’s highest accolade at SANFL’s Annual General Meeting held at Adelaide Oval tonight.

Presenting Mr Olsen’s Life Membership, Chair of the SA Football Commission The Hon. Rob Kerin said Mr Olsen had been an outstanding ambassador for the game in South Australia over the past decade.

“The organisation has undergone nothing short of a transformation – from one that was at a relevance crossroads, with crippling League and club debt and significant uncertainty about its future to what is now arguably the most relevant, most financially stable and most-community connected State League in the country,” Mr Kerin  said.

“John’s decision to step down reflects the governance standards he has implemented and that are designed to ensure fresh minds and fresh ideas are regularly injected into the management of football in South Australia.

“South Australian football has been lucky to have him.”

Mr Olsen was appointed to the Commission in February 2010 and elected its Chair in November of that year at a pivotal time in SANFL’s history.

Among the achievements of the League under his 10-year tenure as Chair of the Commission are:

  • The successful move to Adelaide Oval in 2014 and formation of a joint venture partnership with the South Australian Cricket Association.
  • Positioning SANFL as the best State League competition outside of the AFL with strong attendances, high quality football, significant broadcast and digital engagement and strong talent pathways.
  • A strategic move away from stadium management and purely into football, growing its football development investment and programs exponentially, now covering every age and every area of the State – including juniors, women’s football, community football and more.
  • Significantly lowered debt profile and that of its clubs as a result of land sale of Football Park, combined with the performance of Adelaide Oval.
  • Increased football participation in SA past the 200,000 mark with more than 54,000 playing club football
  • Overseen a record growth (more than 30% in 2018) in female football participation, dramatically increased umpire training, coaching etc.

 

“I’ve always enjoyed working with football people because they’re hard working, committed, and passionate about the game and that was certainly my experience during my tenure at SANFL.

Former SANFL Chairman The Hon John Olsen AO

Accepting his award, Mr Olsen said he felt privileged to be awarded Life Membership of what is the oldest surviving football league of any code in Australia.

“Football has been in my blood ever since my early days growing up in Kadina where my father was President of the Kadina ‘Bloods’ and then through my support and association with West Adelaide,” Mr Olsen said.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with football people because they’re hard working, committed, and passionate about the game and that was certainly my experience during my tenure at SANFL.

“I’m proud of what’s been achieved by everyone in the organisation over the past decade, to establish a solid foundation for the future of the game in SA.”