All 18 AFL clubs will survive the financial crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the league’s chief executive Gillon McLachlan says.
A day after the AFL secured a $600-million credit line from banks, McLachlan is assuring the future of all clubs and the current structure of the competition.
“We are going into this with 18 clubs and we will come out with 18 clubs,” he told SEN radio on Tuesday.
“That is our commitment over the next four, six, eight, 10 months, whatever it looks like, that we will have the same structure at the elite level.”
The AFL and clubs have stood down about 80 per cent of staff with competition suspended until at least May 31.
McLachlan said he hadn’t considered whether some clubs may face the prospect of relocation or merging in the long-term.
“There’s a whole lot of speculation going on about all that,” he said.
“I’m not going to add to speculation other than to say, right now, our task is preserve our revenue streams, cut costs, raise liquidity, have a focus on the other side.
“So that when we can restart in July, August, September or whatever it is … we start with the 18 teams in the locations they are playing AFL football.
“And after that, everyone will have their views and speculate what happens long term. It’s not something I have thought about or buying into.”
McLachlan conceded club operations would differ when the league resumed amid reports the soft salary cap of $9.4m which covers football department spending could be reduced by $3m next season.
“There’s an inevitability that things will look different,” he said.
“You can’t have the change like this and impact like this and come out looking exactly the same, that’s just accepted.
“What it all looks like at the other end, I don’t know, I think it’s too early at the moment.
“We have worked hard to stabilise and now the planning on what it will look like is really going to begin in earnest.”