AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan addresses the media on the postponement of the 2020 AFL season. Picture: AFL Photos

THE AFL will stand down about 80 per cent of its staff until May 31 as it deals with the forced shutdown of the premiership season.

A day after postponing the competition until at least June because of the coronavirus pandemic, AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has confirmed drastic changes at League headquarters.

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Members of the AFL's executive, including McLachlan, have agreed to an immediate 20 per cent pay cut.

All remaining staff at the AFL will have reduced hours during the shut down period, while casual workers have been let go.

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Affected AFL employees will be off work from next Monday.


"This has been a very tough day for every member of our team," McLachlan said.

"I am enormously proud of the team that works at the AFL, which makes these steps so difficult to undertake.

"Our focus right now is to look after our people so they can take care of themselves and their families.

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"We will continue to monitor the May 31 resumption date, taking the best advice from government and medical authorities.

"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."


The AFL will provide staff stood down with nine extra leave days at full pay and they will be able to use annual and long-service leave.

McLachlan, a savvy negotiator who has helped enrich the AFL with billions of dollars in broadcast and sponsorship deals, was a man acutely aware of the size of the financial blow on its way when he announced the season shutdown on Sunday.

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"I never thought it would come to this," McLachlan said.

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McLachlan still wants to get the remaining 16 rounds of a shortened 17-round season started as soon as medical experts give the green light.

"The AFL plan is to play all remaining 144 games plus finals this year," he said.

"The competition will need to be agile and flexible on when those games are scheduled and when play returns.

"We are prepared to run as late as possible in 2020 to complete the season if it is required."

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The ICC T20 World Cup will be in full swing and in control of AFL Grand Final stage the MCG during October and November, to which a delayed premiership season might extend.