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AFL secures financial help from banks as impact of coronavirus pandemic hits home


Posted

March 30, 2020 18:03:43

The AFL has secured a line of credit with two major banks that will allow the league to continue operating during the coronavirus pandemic.

Key points:

  • The total amount of the AFL loans is reportedly more than $500 million
  • AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the loans would offer some welcome financial “relief”
  • The AFL remains committed to playing the remaining 144 premiership season matches

The deal, announced this afternoon, came a week after the AFL and all of its clubs were forced to stand down about 80 per cent of staff in the face of the biggest financial crisis to hit the sport.

It also follows a restructured deal being agreed on between the AFL and players, who will take a significant pay cut.

The total amount derived from the AFL loans given by NAB and ANZ is reportedly more than $500 million.

“I want to thank the NAB and the ANZ for their support, but I also want to stress that while this is a relief, it is not a return to business as usual or a release valve,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said in a statement.

“The football community is, like businesses across every sector, still very much in the financial fight of its life, with the losses this year stretching to many hundreds of millions of dollars.

“What this means is we have a chance to get through, but we will only get through this period if we are united as an industry and every one of us at all levels of the AFL continue to make the hard decisions to drastically and urgently cut costs.”

The AFL’s decision to purchase the Docklands stadium in 2016 has proven crucial in recent days, with the league leveraging the venue ownership in negotiations with the banks.

“To repeat what I said when the AFL Commission made the decision to suspend the 2020 season, this is the most serious threat to our game in our history,” Mr McLachlan said.

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“Last week the AFL stood down 80 per cent of our national workforce until Sunday May 31, with all remaining roles moved to reduced hours of three or four days a week.

“All 18 clubs have taken similar steps and the players have agreed to reduced payments to both save the national AFL competition and preserve the future of the game we love at community and grass-roots level.”

The AFL remains committed to playing the remaining 144 matches of the abridged 2020 men’s season, in addition to finals.

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

AAP/ABC

Topics:

sport,

australian-football-league,

covid-19,

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