14/07/2017 2:58 PM AEST | Updated 14/07/2017 2:58 PM AEST

Senior AFL Executives Resign Over 'Inappropriate Relationships'

The resignations of Simon Lethlean and Richard Simkiss were accepted on Thursday night.

Senior AFL executives, Simon Lethlean and Richard Simkiss, have resigned following "inappropriate relationships with younger women" that work within the industry.

The resignations of Lethlean -- the AFL's football operations manager -- and Simkiss -- the commercial manager -- were accepted by chief executive Gillon McLachlan on Thursday night and have been replaced by Andrew Dillon and Darren Burcher.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, McLachlan said that the pair had "owned their mistakes and do not want the work of the AFL to be impacted by their actions."

The AFL's chief executive said that the decision to accept the resignations "occurred following issues that have fully come to light over the past few days" and that both would be judged "as they should be, to a higher standard."

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan accepted the resignations on Thursday night.

"The AFL that I want to lead is a professional organisation based on integrity, respect, care for each other and responsibility," he said.

"I want a diverse and inclusive culture -- where employees are treated respectfully, fairly and represented at all levels. It is what we have been working so hard to achieve."

In a statement, Lethlean said that the "relationship should never have happened", and as "a husband and a leader" it was up to him to set an example.

"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 family will be my total focus."

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Simon Lethlean has said his main priority is regaining the trust of his wife and family.

Citing the success of the AFL Women's league (AFLW) -- the launch of which was overseen by Lethlean -- McLachlan said that while positive initiatives were being made within the organisation to make it more inclusive, it "must be backed up with action and change."

"I'm proud with the change we are making...there will be issues always, it's how you deal with them," he said.

"We will continue to make change because it is a journey and we're not where we want to be yet.

"We have more women than ever working in our industry... We are creating opportunities [for women] across the board."