Clubs seek legal advice on membership obligations if coronavirus forces fans out


Conscious of treading a fine line between sticking to the letter of the law in their dealings with members and maintaining a good relationship with their fans, the clubs are looking at their legal position before determining what approach they will take if a block of games are disrupted.

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It has become a key part of their scenario planning as the effect of measures to contain coronavirus widens.

With the situation changing so rapidly clubs are reluctant to declare their position until they understand the extent to which the season will be affected although several have received calls from members either seeking refunds or attempting to clarify the position in relation to reserved seats or season tickets.

At the CEOs’ meeting on Tuesday, clubs resolved to maintain a consistent position across the competition on the issue rather than one or more clubs attempting to seek an advantage over other clubs by treating their members differently.

Membership is the backbone of most clubs, with the AFL boasting at their season launch on Tuesday that one in 24 Australians are a member of an AFL club with millions of dollars of revenue raised through membership sales.

About 75 percent of memberships are sold before Christmas and underpin the balance sheets of clubs as they head into the season. The popularity of the member-based competition also underpins broadcasting negotiations and sponsorship arrangements for the AFL.



AFL

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