Cricket has lost a significant administrative figure to Australian football, with the long-serving players association chief Paul Marsh accepting the role as head of the AFL Players Association.
Marsh took up the AFLPA position on Tuesday after spending the weekend away with his family, including father Rod Marsh, the former Test wicketkeeper and now national selector, and brother Daniel Marsh, the Tasmania coach.
While the family name is synonymous with cricket, Paul Marsh has remained close to football, having worked with Port Adelaide before taking up a role at the ACA in 2001, where he succeeded Tim May as chief executive in 2005. Last year Marsh became the executive chairman of the international players association FICA, once again replacing May.
In nine years as ACA chief executive, Marsh has overseen the negotiation of three player payment MOUs with Cricket Australia, while also working assiduously to enhance the lot of former players, most recently embarking on a joint initiative with CA to encourage more former first-class and international players to move into coaching, much as the former ACA president and now national team coach Darren Lehmann has done.
"Paul has left an indelible mark on both the players and the game," Lehmann said. "Over a long period he has demonstrated a huge amount of passion, forward thinking and loyalty. In my time as ACA president his views were always highly regarded and helped ensure the players were strongly represented.
"From a personal point of view Paul has provided an enormous amount of support. I've really valued his leadership, advice, integrity and mateship. There's no doubt he'll be sorely missed but he's left both domestic and Australian cricketers - as well as the game generally - in a really strong position."
In addition to his administrative work, Marsh has spoken frankly and often about numerous issues swirling around the game in Australia and the world. Highly critical of the handling of the Andrew Symonds/Harbhajan Singh case in 2007-08, Marsh has also raised his concerns about the new paradigm of cricket governance to be formalised at the ICC annual conference in Melbourne later this month.
Marsh, who will begin his new role from September 1, said he had been guided by his belief that players are entitled to their just share of revenues. "I have huge respect for the AFL Players' Association and its members. While it was a very difficult decision for me to leave the ACA, I'm very excited about the opportunity and the challenges ahead," Marsh said. "My leadership belief is based on a partnership approach to achieve better outcomes through collaboration with all key stakeholders working together.
"Central to this, is my strong view that as key stakeholders of our game, players deserve a fair share of the game's revenues that they help generate, and continue to have their voices heard on all issues pertaining to players and the game. Equally, I am committed to the Players' Association strategy of the development and implementation of programs and services to players that benefit the individuals, the industry and ensure we deliver a first class sporting workplace to our athletes."
James Sutherland, the CA chief executive, said: "Paul has made a significant contribution to Australian cricket for more than a decade and on behalf of Cricket Australia, we congratulate him on his appointment to lead the AFLPA. I've enjoyed a healthy relationship with Paul since he became CEO at the ACA and we've worked together in the best interests of Australian cricket."
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig