Sunday, June 23, 2024

“Odds are drifting by the minute”: Shadow Racing Minister weighs in on McLachlan delay

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There’s a big week coming up at Racing Victoria.

Interim chairman of RV, Mike Hirst, has indicated earlier this year that he will retire on or before May 31, a date that comes at the end of this week.

With former AFL chief Gillon McLachlan still yet to confirm his tenure, what happens beyond this week is still unclear in Victoria’s primary racing body.

Tim Bull, the Shadow Minister for Racing in Victoria, believes that the time to appoint McLachlan as the next chairman has probably passed, especially considering the Spring Carnival is just three months away.

“I think uncertainty is not a great thing, regardless of what sector… in the Victorian racing industry at the moment we have a whole lot of uncertainty and the minister (Anthony Carbines) is staying silent in a period where we certainly need some leadership and we need some information getting out to our key stakeholders,” he said on SENTrack’s Giddy Up.

“Gil’s appointment would be well received by many, but you simply can’t hold on forever… the spring carnival is around the corner, we’ve got 12 or 13 weeks until Moir Stakes day, our key time of the year when racing is on full show, not only in Victoria but around the world, and we need certainty, we need key decisions filled, and that starts with the appointment of these board vacancies.”

Bull added: “Whilst it would be great to have Gil, that point in time has probably passed and if it hasn’t passed, a decision needs to be made immediately.”

The Age reported late last week that RV may ask Hirst to push back his departure date, likely still waiting on clarification from McLachlan, who is understood to be considering his primary job first before looking to the chairmanship.

Bull was asked point blank if McLachlan would be the next chairman.

“I think (his odds) are drifting by the minute for the simple reason that if he was going to take on that role and it was locked away, I think it would have happened by now,” he replied.

“With every day that passes I think those question marks continue to get greater.

“I think that time, if it hasn’t already passed, is imminent.”

McLachlan was CEO of the AFL from 2014 to 2023 and now boasts a reputation among the most elite sporting administrators of the 21st century.

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