AFL New Zealand Director Andrew Sloman to depart

Based in Auckland and the Waikato, Andrew was first appointed to the AFL New Zealand board back in 2013 whilst working as an Audit and Assurance Partner at BDO, bringing expertise in risk advisory services and governance to the role.

Originally from Melbourne and living in Auckland for 11 years, Andrew Sloman is passionate about the sport of AFL, and in particular the current premiers, the Richmond Tigers.

He has previously served as a member of the Risk Committee at the club. He still remains an active coterie member of the Richmond Football Club and prior to Covid, physically attended upwards of 10 AFL games each season.

He has leveraged this AFL expertise and has provided similar services in the New Zealand market to Hockey New Zealand, Eden Park Trust, the NZ Olympic Committee, Canterbury Cricket and NZ Rugby League, as well as providing risk services to the Melbourne Cricket Club as managers of the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

Andrew’s initial appointment to the AFL New Zealand Board in November 2013.

The Wellington 2013 ANZAC day match between St Kilda and Sydney was a landmark achievement for AFL in New Zealand. For the first time in a 140 year history, an AFL fixture was to be played at an International venue. 23,000 spectators witnessed the first AFL Premiership game in 140 years to be played outside of Australia and provided the perfect example of who will make up the future of the sport in New Zealand. Without the AFL’s confidence in AFLNZ, this match would likely not have happened. Over 5000 guests from Australia visited Wellington filling flights and hotels, providing the local economy with an estimated 9 million dollar cash injection as well as continued travel through New Zealand.

With the appointment of a Wellington co-ordinator as the organisations fourth fulltime staff member, the financial turnover of the organisation exceeded $1 million for the first time.  In response to the commensurate complexity and risk, the board developed a Risk and Finance Sub-committee with Andrew Sloman appointed to the AFL New Zealand Board to boost capability in this specific area.

Sommet Sports, New Zealand’s only free-to-air sports channel, kicked off on televisions around the country in July 2013. In January 2014 Sommet Sports and SKY Sport announced the renewal of their international rights for the next three years.

St Kilda Football Club partnership and a commitment to play future games within New Zealand was supported by a growing list of initiatives. Joe Baker-Thomas became the Saints first  International Scholarship signing signifying a  growing interest in New Zealand’s talented athletes.

Early in 2014, and the NAB AFL preseason was witness to an amazing event as New Zealand born Kurt Heatherley making his first appearance for the Hawthorn Hawks alongside 13 premiership players. AFL in New Zealand also witnessed the Under 18 New Zealand Kahu become the first ever female AFL team to represent New Zealand.

13,500 spectators witnessed the return of St Kilda FC at Wellington ANZAC Day 2014, to play against the Brisbane Lions. AFL extended their broadcast platform in 2014 by appearing on New Zealand’s only free-to-air sports channel. To complement the established ‘freeview’ platform, ‘pay for view’ positioning was in place by June 2014.

The partnership with the St Kilda Football Club was supplemented by the signing of Giovanni Mountain Silbery. The 16 year old Aorere College student joins Joe Baker-Thomas as the Saints’ second International Scholarship signing continuing the growing interest in New Zealand’s talented athletes.The partnerships and the access to community that is available through their support ensure that AFL KiwiKick could continue to grow with the programme now reaching 100,000 participants since its commencement.

In 2015, AFL powerhouse Carlton Football Club travelled to Wellington to join with St Kilda FC in participating in the 2015, 100 year commemorative ANZAC Day match. The formation of  TVNZ’s new Duke Channel was certainly to facilitate a new broadcast deal was certainly one out of the box and a great team effort from the board.

The newly developed AFLNZ Premiership will provide coaching and athlete development opportunities, for the foreseeable future.

QBE Stadium, falling under the control of Auckland Stadiums has become the latest AFL ground to be developed within New Zealand. The new oval positioned alongside AFL New Zealand Head Office, has a magnificent surface and commenced hosting AFL New Zealand Youth Competitions as of October 2015.

The development of commercial partnerships has continued to grow under Andrew’s tenure. St Kilda FC and AV Jennings are not alone in providing financial support to our community programmes. Early in 2016, Foundation North signed a three year funding agreement with AFL New Zealand providing a six figure sum over that period. This fantastic support along with further funding initiatives with Pelorus and Infinity Trusts, provides balance and certainty to our long term strategies.

St Kilda Football Clubs desire to participate in AFL fixtures in New Zealand’s most populous centre, Auckland, has attracted the support of Regional Facilities Auckland and ongoing plans for the redevelopment of firstly Western Springs Stadium and now North Harbour Stadium.

The commencement of the AFLW League within Australia and the ground swell of support behind female participation, has prompted the AFL New Zealand Board with Andrew’s guidance, to throw its weight behind supporting this growth as one of the organisations major targets. The appointment of our fifth fulltime staff member in her position of Female Development manager, will assist in providing this future direction.

Throughout the recent Covid crisis, Andrews input has been critical to navigating a safe path for the future of AFL New Zealand and his support has been priceless. A seven year commitment that deserves recognition and we wish him well in his future endeavours and congratulations on his achievements with AFL New Zealand.

With Andrew’s resignation, the AFL will appoint a new director in the coming weeks.