Departed AFL No.2 Lethlean apologises

Ben McKay
Simon Lethlean has apologised for the relationship which forced his resignation from the AFL

Disgraced senior AFL executive Simon Lethlean says his "total focus" is on rebuilding the relationship with his family after his departure from the sport's head office.

Lethlean has apologised for a "inappropriate relationship" with a junior AFL employee that led to his resignation on Friday.

Fellow executive Richard Simkiss has also resigned on similar grounds.

Lethlean was appointed as the AFL's football operations manager in March, a position seen as the second-most important job in the sport behind chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

His indiscretions and his departure has rocked the AFL.

Lethlean apologised in a statement issued on Friday.

"My resignation follows a wrong decision I made to have an inappropriate relationship with a female employee of the AFL. It is an action for which I am truly sorry for the hurt I have caused," he said.

"I failed my wife, my family, my friends, my organisation and football by making the decision I have.

"I have hurt the people who are most important in my life and who I love. They have done nothing to deserve this. I am deeply sorry for all the hurt and embarrassment I have caused."

Lethlean said he wouldn't be able to rebuild his marriage if he continued in the job.

"My priority now is to do everything I can to repair the damage and hurt I have caused my wife and my family and I cannot do this while working in this public role," he said.

"Regaining the trust and love of my wife and my family will be my total focus."

Andrew Dillon, AFL general counsel, will act in Lethlean's position until a full-time replacement is appointed.

McLachlan said the new football chief was likely to come from outside head office.