What a year it’s been for AFL. Controversy after controversy. The Essendon Football Club saga will be one that will be remembered for a long time yet, but spare a though for the AFL’s CEO. Where was Andrew Demetriou when all Essendon story and why was he silent on the matter?

“I was on my annual trip to Cyprus,” he says with a smile, and there was no way he was going to be dealing with that whilst holidaying on the same earth his forefathers had walked. Mr Demetriou took his family to Cyprus to meet his father, relatives and for his family to get to know and understand their cultural heritage.

Contrary to popular belief, Andrew Demetriou is one incredibly proud Cypriot Australian, who often credits his migrant parents for his success today. They taught him the value of working hard, loyalty and family – all core beliefs that one of Australia’s most noted and prominent sports CEO’s always takes on board.

Speaking to students, staff and members of the Greek community at Alphington Grammar at their annual Father’s Day breakfast last week, Mr Demetriou noted the importance of Greek heritage and the importance of family values. The breakfast, organised by the school as well as the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria, raised money for research to prevent and treat prostate cancer.It was a trip to Greece, when he was university student, that gave him the strength to be one of the most powerful figures in not only sports, but Australia. The trip was supposed to be for a few days, but he stayed for six months where he matured as a man, but also a Greek Australian.

Mr Demetriou grew up in the working class Coburg, at the back of the fish and chip shop his parents owned and operated. His parents migrated to Australia in the ’50s and had four children, who all went to university. His parents worked hard – seven days a week – and Mr Demetriou has inherited this work ethic. But family values are still at his core and even though he runs this ’empire’ that is AFL. When he’s home at 5:30 pm, it’s purely time for his wife and children.

Whilst in Cyprus this year, Mr Demetriou said that he wants to instil these cultural values in Australia and in the AFL. And with the finals coming up, the question on everybody’s lips was ‘who will sing at the Grand Final?’

“Maybe it’s time to call Dalaras,” the CEO joked.

Neos Kosmos

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