While chief executive Gillon McLachlan is leading the AFL through the crisis, one of the commission, former Macquarie Capital boss Robin Bishop, is playing a key role in the AFL’s strategy for securing liquidity and shoring up the game’s parlous finances. Macquarie is Australia’s largest investment bank.
The figure of more than $500m points to the huge amount of revenue that the AFL and the 18 clubs have lost, in a matter of days, due to the suspension of the season until at least May 31 and the recognition that games are unlikely to be played straight after that date and indeed might not be played this season at all.
Sources said that Marvel Stadium was valued at more than a billion dollars.
The clubs are continuing to deal with the savage cuts to staff, particularly in the football departments, which were operating on Tuesday for the first time with just skeleton staff. Close to 80 percent of club staff have been stood down, some able to take leave, some forced to be laid off without pay and a number facing redundancies in the near future.
The AFL has told clubs that the soft cap on football department spending will be reduced immediately by $1 million, and have floated a further $2 million cut in 2021, with virtually the entire AFL community now aware that austerity measures will be in place for years, not a matter of months.
Industry figures say that they expect the size of playing lists to shrink down to about 35 in future, though it is clear if that would be as soon as 2021, and for assistant coaching numbers to be cut back.
Club football operations have only a handful of key staff still working at present, including the senior coach, the football operations boss, the conditioning chief and the club doctor. Senior executives at clubs are in line for significant pay cuts, Collingwood’s senior executives agreeing to a 40 per cent cut while the games are not being played.
West Coast, the richest club in the competition, has not been spared tough austerity measures either, having stood down most of their football staff and also gone to a skeleton staff model, with the Eagles committed to preserving as many jobs as possible.