The decision by Seven CEO Tim Worner to resign from the board of the Sydney Swans after weeks of pressure from female fans of the club has increased pressure on the Seven Network to reconsider his future at the helm of the company.
The announcement by Seven that Worner had resigned his position with the Swans came a day after the latest court hearing where the network is fighting to maintain a gag order of Worner’s former lover Amber Harrison.
Seven is seeking a permanent injuction against Harrison sharing information about her settlement with Seven after she used social media to reveal she had a long-running affair with the executive while working as an executive assistant for another SWM executive.
Harrison is seeking to have the case heard in Melbourne, where she has launched Federal Court proceedings for alleged breaches of the Fair Work Act.
Seven is fighting the move, with reports of a terse encounter between Harrison’s barrister, Julian Burnside, and the judge hearing the case, Justice John Sakar this week where Burnside accused Seven of being a “boy’s club” ganging up on Harrison, with Sackar, rebuking him for slinging mud in the court.
Overnight, Worner released a statement saying he did not wish the ongoing case to have a negative impact on The Swans, where he has been a director since 2016.
“Please be advised that today I have tendered my resignation from the board of the Sydney Swans and that my resignation has been accepted, effective immediately,” Worner said in the statement.
“My hope is that by standing down, I can relieve pressure on the board and the club and let them concentrate on the business of football, and a successful home and away season in 2017.
“During last year, working alongside some of the best business and sporting brains in the industry was a privilege – and an experience I’m most grateful for.
“As the Club surges towards the last weekend in September, I’ll be right there beside them, and wish them every success.”
Sydney Swans Chairman Andrew Pridham said Worner made a valuable contribution to the Club.
“Tim has been an excellent Director and made a significant contribution to our football club in a short period of time,” Pridham said.
“However, Tim is obviously going through a very difficult period.
“We understand his decision to step down to avoid further distraction for the Club and to enable him to devote 100 per cent of his efforts to his professional and personal responsibilities.
“We thank him for his contribution and wish him the very best for the future.”
The Swans had faced pressure from fans over Worner’s position, with the case against Harrison having attracted considerable media attention.
While Seven has maintained its support for the CEO since his affair with Harrison became public, his decision to resign from The Swans could be used by critics of his continuing leadership of Seven as ammunition in the call for him to leave the role.
The hearing in the Supreme Court of New South Wales has been adjourned.