They are sport’s ultimate movers and shakers. From the stars on the field to those wheeling and dealing off it – who made the Power 100?
They are sport’s ultimate movers and shakers. From the stars on the field to those wheeling and dealing off it – who made the Power 100?

Power 100: Australian sport’s most powerful people revealed

Movers and shakers, politicians and celebrities are all drawn to the power and influence of Australian sport.

But what exactly is it? How can it be measured? And who lays greatest claim to it?

These were the questions we put to a panel of some of the leading sports writers in the country. None were easy to answer.

The path of least friction would have been to simply look at executive power. Board seats. Those in charge of the biggest budgets. The owners, administrators and media moguls who pull the strings, pay the cheques and decide where and when sport is played and how it can be viewed.

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And those figures do appear on this list of the 100 Most Powerful People in Australian Sport.

But sport holds a more diverse and expansive place in Australian life than that. In culture, in community, at the grassroots and on the grandest stages. The shared experiences of local pride and even nationhood.

Power, too, lies in the hands of players and coaches who define or even transcend their sport, who thrill on the field of play but also, through that, have a platform and a voice that people stop and listen to every time they speak. The leaders who define cultures and how we play the games we do.

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Even more importantly, perhaps, it is with the people fighting for change, often against fierce obstacles, using sport as a vehicle for empowerment, inspiring us to be better and moulding the very shape of society itself.

The debates on the panel were robust. As they were bound to be when drawing on the expertise of Phil Rothfield (Daily Telegraph Sports Editor at Large), Julian Linden (Walkley Award winning Olympics and rugby writer), Michael Warner (senior AFL writer Herald Sun), James Phelps (NRL and motorsports writer), Ray Thomas (Daily Telegraph Racing Editor) and Robert Craddock (Chief Sports writer, Courier Mail).

Nominations were made, examined, fiercely contested and - finally - agreed upon. No one person's original top 100 was the same. Or even close. Yours undoubtedly would be different, too (vote for what you think below).

Any attempt to weigh all those disparate claims to power and influence is bound and limited by subjectivity. Only one slot demanded unanimity. The unique trials and upheavals of 2020 and the varied responses to them took care of that. Read the list and work out for yourself who that was.

 

 

Originally published as Power 100: Australian sport's most powerful people revealed


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