• Eddie McGuire has stood down as Collingwood president, effective immediately. (AAP)Source: AAP
Eddie McGuire has stepped down as Collingwood Football Club's president following mounting pressure on the club to drop him from its leadership.
Keira Jenkins, Sarah Collard

9 Feb 2021 - 4:52 PM  UPDATED 9 Feb 2021 - 4:52 PM

Eddie McGuire stood down as Collingwood president on Monday, effective immediately. 

In announcing his resignation, McGuire again asserted that Collingwood FC is not a racist club.

His resignation comes following the release on Monday morning of an open letter demanding the AFL remove him as president, and calling on the clubs high profile sponsors to issue statements denouncing racism.

Signatories to the letter included Professor Gary Foley, former AFL star Nathan Lovett-Murray, former Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda, Aboriginal sports photographer Barbara McGrady and Greens senator Lidia Thorpe.

Pressure had been mounting for Mr McGuire's resignation the damning 'Do Better' report, led by Jumbunna Institute's Professor Larissa Behrendt, revealed an internal culture of systemic racism at the club. 

Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe said the action should not end at Mr McGuire's resignation. 

Ms Thorpe said the issues at Collingwood are an example of a wider issue in the AFL, other sporting codes, and Australian society as a whole.

"Systemic racism is part of the fabric of this country," Ms Thorpe told NITV News on Monday.

"It's everywhere. I'm sure it's in other AFL clubs, we're seeing stories of cricket and the systemic racism there, systemic racism in the parliament that I work in every day.

"We have to stand up, as a nation, call out systemic racism and actually fix the problem."

'Hold them accountable'

Earlier, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews backed McGuire to remain in place as president of Collingwood.

“You don’t run from problems, you work your guts out to try and fix them,” Mr Andrews said.

“The Eddie McGuire that I know is equal to that task, and I can tell you in my discussions with him, he is very, very committed to doing that work.

“It won’t be easy, and it won’t be fast. It’ll take time."

McGuire thanked the Premier and the Sports Minister for their support in announcing his resignation.

Former Socceroo and lawyer Francis Awaritefe was also a signatory on the open letter and told NITV News the solution to systemic racism in sport as a whole lies in accountability of organisations and groups to be held responsible for their leadership.

"The possible solution towards this is embedding the respect for human rights into the heart of sports governance," he said.

"And this requires the respect for the human rights of players, and those who are involved in the delivery of sport in accordance with international human rights standards, and this is the starting point.

"We need to be able to hold these groups responsible, to hold them accountable.

"The sporting organisations themselves need to become more transparent and to be held accountable so we're not having this defensive doubling down mentality that we've had with Collingwood when the issues of racism or any other breaches of human rights have been brought into the public domain."

Open Letter demands Collingwood FC president step down
An open letter signed by prominent Indigenous leaders, politicians, academics and sporting greats is calling on Collingwood's Eddie McGuire to step down.