Australian Football League Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan today said the AFL had immediately begun the difficult process to restructure its business operations.
After yesterday's announcement to call a suspension to the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season and an end to the 2020 NAB AFLW Season, Mr McLachlan said the AFL's focus now was to ensure the ongoing viability of both the league and its clubs through the unfolding current Covid-19 health crisis.
"Everyone has a role to play in stopping the spread of this virus. Every person in every community must take the appropriate precautions to ensure that they stay safe and healthy," Mr McLachlan said.
"Each organisation across the football industry has to take action quickly, and we have sought to keep our staff fully informed, focus on their health and well-being, and to support them as best we possibly can."
He said the AFL would:
- Immediately reduce the salaries of the AFL Executive team by a minimum 20 per cent indefinitely.
- See the majority of full-time staff (approximately 80 per cent) initially stood down from their current duties from next Monday March 30, until May 31. Those team members will be able to access their available annual leave and long service leave entitlements. The AFL will also provide staff stood down with nine additional special leave days at full pay to provide further assistance to them and their families during this time.
- Temporarily move to a core operations structure with remaining AFL staff, who will have reduced hours of 3 or 4 days per week.
- Release casual staff from duties.
- Move to not fill any listed vacancies.
"This has been a very tough day for every member of our team. I am enormously proud of the team that works at the AFL, which makes these steps so difficult to undertake.
"As the situation continues to evolve, there is still a lot of uncertainty and unknowns. Our focus right now is to look after our people, so they can take care of themselves and their families, as we work our way through this situation.
"Once the temporary suspension period is completed, our plan is to complete the remaining 144 games plus finals of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
"We will continue to monitor the May 31 resumption date, taking the best advice from government and relevant medical authorities.
"We are working with key government agencies and our partners where possible to support them with other work opportunities.
"I do understand the impact these steps will have on the lives of our entire team. Our priority now is ensuring all our people stay safe and healthy."
Mr McLachlan said he understood that some people on stand down may need or want to seek alternative employment during this period and they were welcome to do so. This would have no impact on their ability to return to work at the AFL in the future.
He also reinforced the call for unity across the industry as we all deal with the most serious situation football has seen.
"The only way that footy can find a way through is to continue to be agile, flexible and - most importantly – united. Our clubs are facing the same challenges as head office. We will continue to work with them on finalising an operating model during this temporary suspension period."