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The Roar

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Joined April 2019

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Rugby was in serious trouble before COVID-19. All the pandemic has done is to crystallise that; the problems with every major decision the Board, the CEO and the players have made in the last five years have been exposed.

The Wrap: Rugby’s ugly in-fighting just got uglier

They don’t. The numbers are designed to compare the ability of each club to deal with an event like this. They also highlight how vulnerable clubs are to revenue or expense shocks.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

I understand the difference between the two and also that the terms are are not public. But I think the following are reasonable assumptions: (i) the AFL will most likely need to draw down the whole amount within 6 months of training starting (ii) the interest rates won’t be very friendly.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

No one would suggest that bank executives lack “business acumen”. But we still had the scandals – they weren’t evil, they never paused to consider whether it was all too good to be true.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

I agree with the notion that the AFL competition needs to drop teams and with many of your prescriptions. There are some problems though:
(i) It would be a mistake to expand into the NT. It would be costly and even with the best will in the world, players would just rotate through a Darwin based club. [Just cut GWS and GCS]
(ii) Cutting Carlton and Essendon would be a financial disaster for the whole competition
(iii) You have left St Kilda out of your reckoning.

I reckon a reduction to 16 teams would be sustainable. As much as I support a national competition – with two teams from the West and SA – we would all do well to remember that support for the major Victorian clubs is national while that for non-Vic clubs is local.

Both the AFL and NRL must make serious cuts to clubs

You are right – it’s not last year. On the other hand we could probably agree that the cost of running a club at full tilt is way beyond the means of their supporters if other revenue dries up.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

You are quite right. Nonetheless if you run the same assumptions through every club you would come up with a similar batting order: bunnies from number 4 (and you wouldn’t bet your life on 2 and 3). In the end the analysis was meant to give a sense how vulnerable clubs are to shocks and how poorly placed the AFL is to deal with general shocks.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

I certainly don’t propose having money sitting around doing nothing: “Cash” was simply shorthand. What I have in mind is an investment vehicle that is designed to deliver an income stream (8% is not unrealistic), which can be liquidated quickly. I think the AFL should have been building such a fund players, etc would have had to accept less. Instead the AFL had to go out and borrow at X% rate of interest. The players will probably have to take a haircut to service the loan anyway…

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

It’s $2 million. Would buy 2 weeks at last year’s burn rate.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

“Keeping cash reserves is a pointless waste of money that could be better invested elsewhere…”

What’s the ROI on increased salaries for players, etc?

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

They don’t. The numbers are designed to compare the ability of each club to deal with an event like this. They also highlight how vulnerable clubs are to revenue or expense shocks.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

That would be an interesting article. Presumably he would also lay out his strategy to repay and pay interest on a $600 million loan/line of credit without making any fundamental change to the structure and operations of the AFL.

Which AFL clubs can survive the coronavirus?

Says it all:
https://www.afl.com.au/news/85831/player-payments-revealed-millionaires-on-the-up

The six AFL clubs that could go to the wall

Even a superficial look at the AFL’s and the club’s financial statements make it clear that revenue in = costs out. To the extent that cash is accumulated, it’s earmarked by the clubs to fund marquee players and by the AFL to fund its strategy of world domination. Here I reference Eddie McGuire who said that the presidents and the AFL had pretty much agreed that a Tassie side was a reality “Geez, we have the money, but not now”. There is no sense of baking in a prudential margin; cash just burns holes in their pockets.

This article will annoy many people, particularly those who see their club on the list.

But I believe that the AFL needs to grasp this as a chance to fundamentally reset. My three point plan:

(i) The AFL sets a prudential margin for itself and each club, ie unencumbered cash that must be maintained as a bulwark against the unexpected. It should be able to cover the loss of at least one season’s revenue. Such a margin will take time to build, say 5 years. A side benefit is that it would place a constraint on expensive frolics like AFLX.

(ii) The number of clubs (and players) will be determined by the margin and the build profile. I suspect the maximum number of clubs that are sustainable is 14. A smaller number of clubs would not only mean only the very best players get a guernsy, but that the development of AFLW would be more manageable.

(iii) The administration, coaches, players and support staff will all have to take a hair cut. A look at the AFL’s financial statements demonstrates that Gil has been shovelling increasing amounts of money into the players and AFLPA’s pockets. At a staggering rate.

The six AFL clubs that could go to the wall

I think that you are right to go to the financial statements. They highlight – in general – that what comes in goes out. To the extent that cash is accumulated, it’s earmarked by the clubs to fund marquee players and by the AFL to fund its strategy of world domination. Here I reference Eddie McGuire who said that the presidents and the AFL had pretty much agreed that a Tassie side was a reality “Geez, we have the money, but not now”. There is no sense of baking in a prudential margin; cash just burns holes in their pockets.

This article will annoy many people, particularly those who see their club on the list.

But I believe that the AFL needs to grasp this as a chance to fundamentally reset. My three point plan:

(i) The AFL sets a prudential margin for itself and each club, ie unencumbered cash that must be maintained as a bulwark against the unexpected. It should be able to cover the loss of at least one season’s revenue. Such a margin will take time to build, say 5 years. A side benefit is that it would place a constraint on expensive frolics like AFLX.

(ii) The number of clubs (and players) will be determined by the margin and the build profile. I suspect the maximum number of clubs that are sustainable is 14. A smaller number of clubs would not only mean only the very best players get a guernsy, but that the development of AFLW would be more manageable.

(iii) The administration, coaches, players and support staff will all have to take a hair cut. A look at the AFL’s financial statements demonstrates that Gil has been shovelling increasing amounts of money into the players and AFLPA’s pockets. At a staggering rate.

The six AFL clubs that could go to the wall

Elite sports – being the players and the administrators – have been taking every cent out of their games for years. There is no sense of building a prudential buffer for a rainy day.

For example, every peak body and club should have enough unencumbered cash to meet the revenue shortfall if their major sponsors pulled the pin in the face of scandal. They should have enough for two years.

And it’s not as if they are all financial dunces, they’re not. It’s just a culture of greed.

Perhaps it’s time for these tax free not for profit sports entities – sheltering highly paid executives, coaches and players – to be required by law to have a prudential margin. It applies to banks and insurance companies.

What’s more important: Public health or footy?

Once folks work out how counter his fend off his effectiveness will be reduced by 50%.

In defence of Daisy Pearce

In what way uneducated?

In defence of Daisy Pearce

The problem is not that she expressed an opinion, but that her evidence was so superficial. Quite apart from anything else, I don’t it’s sensible or possible to nominate a single GOAT. What makes more sense to me is to think in terms of the greatest in each position. While that approach runs into problems because of the current position/role definitions (mids, etc) it also highlights why it’s so difficult to compare across eras.

It’s strange that few have mentioned Michael Voss. His record compares very favourably to Martin’s, particularly when you take into account Martin’s clangers and net FF/FA stats.

In the end any commentator who wants to be thought of as a student of the game needs to front up with better evidence.

In defence of Daisy Pearce

If we can’t accommodate players with Christian beliefs, in particular players with Polynesian backgrounds, we are stuffed. The affidavits in the Folau case need to be taken seriously. They might well be based on misunderstandings, but blokes like Kepu and Keravi don’t submit such things lightly. It was obvious from the beginning that the RA stance against Folau would likely divide the players – the affidavits are evidence that it did.

The All Blacks would never have allowed the Folau fiasco to develop the way it did.

The Wrap: Lazy thinking reinforces rugby’s negative narrative

A friend is working on a PhD thesis entitled (provisionally) “Gendering Sports in the 19th Century: Missing the Forrest for the Fish?”

No plans for AFL to become AFLM

While I understand your point, I’m not sure it’s helps the AFLW by comparing it to the competition as it was in the late 1800s. But since you do advance this line, I suggest that no commercial network today would televise Aussie Rules 1800s-style.

The AFL is driven by revenues – it will support AFLW only to the extent that it’s a commercially viable TV product. If the TV audience switches off because it’s not a great “product”, then that will be that. Nothing else will matter.

It won’t mean women won’t play footy, just that it won’t be televised as often or at all. Perhaps the match of the round, the finals, or just the grand final.

No plans for AFL to become AFLM

The issue is why the question would even be asked at this point in proceedings..

No plans for AFL to become AFLM

True. But how are AFLW “proudly separate to the AFL”?

No plans for AFL to become AFLM

Nicole Livingstone dealt with the question quite sensibly and ended by saying “I think it’s everybody’s responsibility to continue to push and want for more, so we have to get comfortable with that. It’s going to be lumpy, it’s going to be bumpy, but it’s OK.”

And it is OK too.

On the other hand those pushing for more must be realistic. At the end of the first round last week, the women’s competition had yet to break the 100 game mark (it is at 97). It’s too early to declare victory.

Low scoring in AFLW is a problem, no matter how much it’s sugar coated. The average points per team and average winning margin (in brackets) in each of the first three seasons were 33 (17), 35 (18), and 36 (22). The average score and margin after Round 1 last week were 24 and 14. High scoring is one of the game’s distinctive features – so it could well turn out to be an existential threat to AFLW if it doesn’t find a way to fix it.

Marking, kicking and hand passing are also distinctive features of the game. Certainly there some players that are very good in one or two areas, but only a few have them all (still I’m not sure that I’ve seen any player that is two sided). On average skills were already poor and have not been helped by expansion. Mind you, the AFL doesn’t acknowledge that the expansion of the bloke’s competition dilutes the skill base, so why would it think it would affect the women’s?

I watch a lot of women’s sport cricket, golf, netball, basketball, tennis, athletics, cycling, etc. Of course it’s different in some respects to the blokes’ version. But not radically. In fact if I had a swing or putting stroke as pure as any of the top 100 women golfers I’d be a happier man.

In short: the AFLW should get what it needs to be successful. But that includes facing up to some existential threats.

No plans for AFL to become AFLM