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Focus on Footy abandons Tigers AFL revolt

AAP logoAAP 21/09/2016

Focus on Footy has abandoned a shambolic campaign to shake up the Richmond AFL board but insists the short-lived push achieved something.

The group, led by Dr Martin Hiscock, had already backed down on calls for a board spill and instead hoped to gain four to five seats without an extraordinary general meeting at the club.

But the attempted revolt was stared down by Tigers president Peggy O'Neal, prompting the rebel group to suspend its campaign.

"While we're disappointed that the board would not entertain any change, we believe we have achieved much," a spokesman said on Wednesday.

"We have put an incredible focus on football, which needed to be urgently addressed at Richmond.

"We contributed to the return of Neil Balme.

"We have shaken up the place. We did something."

The wind was taken out of the group's campaign when the Tigers effectively beat the rebels to the punch in announcing Balme as their new head of football.

Richmond chief executive Brendon Gale has said the club was already in talks with Balme before Focus on Footy called for the Richmond legend's return.

The rebel group met with O'Neal and her board on Tuesday and were told none of the existing directors would step down.

"The time leading up to the AFL draft is really important for all clubs and our priority right now is running this club, and providing a stable environment that allows our CEO Brendon Gale and our new general manager of football Neil Balme to build a stronger Richmond on and off the field," O'Neal said in a statement after the meeting.

"I'm sure all passionate Richmond members and supporters want Brendon and Neil focused on delivering the changes we have announced to strengthen our football department and not be distracted by other issues."

Focus on Footy had also insisted it would pay out the remainder of coach Damien Hardwick's contract if performance guidelines were not met next season.

Hardwick is contracted until the end of 2018.

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