AFLW boss Nicole Livingston sensationally QUITS just days before the grand final – here’s why she pulled the pin

AFLW boss Nicole Livingstone has made the surprise decision to retire after this week’s grand final, saying the time was right for her to leave the role.

Livingstone has been general manager of women’s football for the past seven seasons, taking the AFLW from an eight-team competition at the end of its inaugural season in 2017 to the current model in which all 18 AFL clubs have an elite women’s side. level.

Under Livingstone’s leadership, the competition increased in length from seven rounds and one final to ten rounds and a four-week final series.

Additional rounds have already been set for future seasons.

The AFLW has gone from strength to strength after Livingstone came on board as boss seven seasons ago

The 52-year-old (pictured with AFLW great Erin Phillips), an Olympic medalist for Australia in the pool, was a driving force in revolutionizing the women’s Aussie Rules

The AFLW league is now the largest employer of female athletes in Australia, with 540 players earning an average of $60,000 in 2023, rising to $82,000 by 2027.

Livingstone, 52, will leave her role in the AFL after Sunday’s grand final between North Melbourne and Brisbane at Ikon Park.

The former swimmer who represented Australia at three Olympic Games has yet to announce where she will go.

“After six years and on the eve of completing our best AFLW season to date, the time feels right for me to step down and support the AFLW competition from a different perspective,” Livingstone said in a statement.

When Livingstone came on board, the AFLW consisted of eight teams. Now all 18 AFL clubs have a women’s team in the elite competition

‘When I was with Gill [former chief executive Gillon McLachlan] and Steve Hocking and Andrew Dillon in 2017 before taking on this role we spoke about ambitions for AFLW.

“We wanted a competition that was prominent in the Australian sporting landscape and respected for what it created.

“We wanted to create an opportunity for each of our 18 clubs to experience what having an AFLW program would mean for their club; sporting, cultural and commercial.

The 52-year-old (pictured with North Melbourne coach Alistair Clarkson and AFL committee chairman Richard Goyder) has not revealed her plans after quitting footy

“Most importantly, I wanted opportunities for girls and women to play, coach, referee, administer and even broadcast our game.

“Australian football looks different than when I started. Women involved in all aspects of our game are now normal and no longer a pleasant surprise.”

AFL chief executive Andrew Dillon praised Livingstone’s contribution.

“When Nicole first joined the AFL we had just completed one eight-team season, a seven-match season and only one finals,” Dillon said in a statement.

“We received a groundswell of support and Nic turned that energy into the growing, sustainable and successful national women’s league we see today.”