‘Very small amount’ have asked for AFL membership refunds: McLachlan


“I think people understand. The clubs and the AFL, for so many people is so important,” McLachlan told 3AW on Friday.

“For many people I think it is tribal and it’s a connection and it’s a sense of belonging and I think our people understand how important it is for us all to get through this.

Gillon McLachlan says very few club members have sought refunds on their memberships so far.Credit:Pat Scala

“It [refunds] is limited clearly for those who need to and everyone’s got their own individual circumstances.

“We just work through with everyone. People don’t need to prove anything, if they want to exit, they can and they absolutely need to do what suits themselves.”

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While McLachlan said securing the $600 million line of credit from the banks against Marvel Stadium would help the league, and its 18 clubs, survive this turbulent period, he warned that that loan alone wouldn’t be enough.

“We need to work hard at retaining revenue and cutting costs to get us all through to the other side and we’re confident we’ll do it,” he said.

“They [the 18 clubs] might be a bit banged up [when the crisis ends], but I know we’ll all pull together to make this work.”

The prospect of the AFL completing its 2020 season, even with a reduced fixture of 17 games per team plus finals and a potential finish in December, still looks very uncertain, but McLachlan remains optimistic.

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“If we can play we will,” he said.

He also vowed to support country and community football leagues get through the crisis.

The majority of lower-level football competitions around Australia are facing uncertain futures as revenue streams dry up, with amateur clubs and leagues more vulnerable than ever before.

‘‘So many businesses are in uncharted waters and in our little world of football, the elite and the community are equally important,’’ McLachlan said.

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‘‘We’ve got to make sure we work with them to get through this.

‘‘There’s great uncertainty for everyone at the moment and we’re three or four weeks into this.

‘‘We’re working with the peak bodies in each state, who will then work down through all of those [lower leagues], but it’s not going to be easy.’’

With AAP

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