The man who has overseen the AFL in New South Wales has been named as the inaugural chief executive of expansion club Western Sydney.
Dale Holmes, 42, will start his new job immediately, leaving his role as general manager of AFL (NSW/ACT), which he had filled since 2004.
Western Sydney is due to join the AFL in 2012 and chairman Tony Shepherd said Holmes had already been a driving force in setting up the club.
“Dale has driven much of the work that went into the establishment of Team GWS and setting up its community focus and community advisory group,” Shepherd said.
“He made a decision that after working with the organisation in its infancy, [that] he wanted to see it through and to realise the vision of having a team in Greater Western Sydney that truly represented the community and the people of the region.”
Holmes said building Sydney’s second club was “without doubt the biggest challenge” facing the AFL, but he was excited to take it on.
“I am a firm believer that having a second side based in Greater Western Sydney is important in really engaging almost two million people in our game,” Holmes said.
“It is an opportunity to increase awareness and support of our game, but also is an opportunity to work closely with the local community to build jobs, opportunities and awareness of the people and businesses of this region.”
Holmes played three games with North Melbourne in 1987 and has also played with East Sydney in the AFL NSW league.