Mike Fitzpatrick, Chairman of the AFL Commission, delivered a speech at the 2014 AFL Grand Final.

The full transcript can be read by clicking here. An excerpt is below.

Welcome everybody to what should be one of the great Grand Finals of the modern era.

And a particular welcome to General Sir Peter Cosgrove, one of the great Australians—to your first Grand Final since taking on the role of Governor-General.

And to our foreign minister, Julie Bishop just off the plane from New York—no doubt chuffed by the win of West Coast’s Matt Priddis in Monday’s Brownlow Medal.

As well as achieving so much in the political sphere, Julie was a Board member of the Eagles from 2008 until she became foreign minister 12 months ago.

Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Communications, is here to see the game and chat about AFL Media Rights. After Gill has finished with you Minister, you may not hear the crowd.

Grand Final day gives us all a chance to reflect on what has been, and what is to come, and the last 12 months has been a time of great transition for the AFL.

  • The old gave way to the new with exciting game day presentations put on by Port Power and the Crows at the revitalised Adelaide Oval. With the benefit of a ‘clean’ stadium, control over the video screens, electronic billboards, and pre-game countdowns, they have shown creative ways to present games, a model for all clubs in the competition.
  • Experiments in programming and variable pricing were tried by the AFL,including an early, drawn out split round to start the season, tiered pricing systems in Victoria, and blockbusters on Sunday nights. All were given a big thumbs down by our supporters here in Victoria.

We had a crack, not everything worked, but we learnt a lot, most of which will be applied in 2015 and beyond.

  • Our expansion teams went from also-rans to becoming competitive, a transition thatI’m sure will continue to gain traction through 2015.
  • Our clubs accepted the concept of increased revenue sharing and a cap on football department expenditure. This was arguably the most important initiative since the Draft and Salary Cap were introduced almost 30 years ago. The clubs clearly understand that equality of opportunity forms the foundation of a great competition.
  • A cloud that has hung over our game—most unfairly in my view—was conclusively dispersed by a Federal Court judgment in favour of the processes employed by ASADA in the Essendon supplements case.
  • One thing that hasn’t changed is the AFL executive’s preference for aged rock stars to entertain us on Grand Final day. The Commission currently delegates this decision—this could change after today.

To read the full transcript, click here.