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Graeme Samuel appointed to head the Australian Rugby League Commission

Samuel brings years of experience in sports administration to the post


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Graeme Samuel / Getty

Graeme Samuel, who sprung to public attention in the mid-eighties when he was appointed head commissioner of the Australian Football League, a post that he held for a record breaking 19 seasons   still stepping at the end of season 2001/2002 is making his comeback to the sport when he steps up to become head of the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC).

Samuel, who is due to take up his post in the beginning of November, will be replacing Gary Pemberton, who will be retiring .

After stepping down from his post at the AFL, Graeme Samuel moved into the public sector becoming as head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Samuel successfully completed eight year tenure with the organization, who have been handed a difficult role of protecting consumer and business rights and the prevention of anti-competitive behavior. Skills which will no doubt help him in his forthcoming challenging role.

After leaving the ACCC in 2011, Samuel was appointed managing director of investment bank,  Greenhill Australia, retaining his links to the game of rugby , by being closely involved in the negotiation of a media rights deal on behalf of the National Rugby League which turned out to be particularly lucrative for them.

The National Rugby League (NRL) is regarded as being the number one league in professional Rugby league football clubs in Australasia [Australia and New Zealand].

On announcing the appointment John Grant, chairman of the ARLC. Expressed his satisfaction stating that Graeme Samuel is one of the most respected figures in the Australian business and sporting landscape.

“Through his previous role at Greenhill, members of the commission formed a strong working relationship with Graham, and we feel that feel together with his time as an AFL Commissioner will allow him a strong and unique understanding of some of the game’s key strategic issues and opportunities.”

In response to Grant’s comments, Samuel replied “The exposure I have had to the game and to the Commission over the last year has demonstrated the extent to which the game is striving towards an even more significant place on the national sporting landscape.

In August last year, the ARLC announced the signing of a new television rights deal with the Nine Network and Fox Sports, which stands to be worth more than $1 billion over five years.


Graeme Samuel was born and raised in Melbourne Australia. Samuel received his high school education at Wesley College, Melbourne, going on to study law at first the University of Melbourne where he graduated with an LLB later continuing his studies at  Monash University where he graduated with a Masters degree in law.

After graduation, Graeme Samuels continued to practice career in law, reaching the status of partner in Melbourne law firm Phillips Fox & Masel, before going on to be appointed executive director of the international banking group, the Macquarie Bank based in Sydney, a post he held from 1981 to 1986, before becoming commissioner of the Australian Football League.





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