PRIVATE ownership of AFL clubs is back on the agenda, with Greater Western Sydney chief executive Dave Matthews saying it is "worth contemplating" in these cash-strapped times.
A 25-strong coterie group, some of whom are American millionaires, named M7 that already pumps funds into the Giants has shown informal interest in buying into the club.
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Former St Kilda great Nick Riewoldt raised the topic of temporary private ownership as an option a fortnight ago as the AFL industry fights to stay afloat during the global coronavirus pandemic.
However, Matthews' comments on the topic provide the first real legitimacy of the model again being part of the AFL landscape.
"They've been great supporters over the last few years and I guess the discussion's come up from time to time, because the landscape in the US is very much based on private ownership," Matthews said on SEN radio.
"The support's great as it is (but) whether there's a possibility of going further is something probably worth contemplating in the current circumstances."
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Matthews said there would need to be "guarantees" in place on financial support that is already in place, including membership and centralised revenue, before agreeing to any such private arrangement.
He also said that buying into any AFL club wouldn't be purely about a financial return.
"I don't particularly see opportunity for private investors from a money-making point of view or a return on investment necessarily," Matthews said.
"I don't think the markets are individually quite big enough for that.
"But it is, in some respects, probably the satisfaction that comes out of building something from scratch and trying to win the competition.
"I know a lot of the motivation for those guys, and the M7 generally, has been to support an underdog and a young club with small turnover compared to the other clubs that we're competing against at the pointy end."
Collingwood president Eddie McGuire also weighed in on the topic, saying he was supportive of the concept but added a warning.
"It's a big jump from (a group contributing) $3 million a year to $25 million a year," McGuire said on Triple M.
"And I'll give you the tip – if private ownership comes in, the friendly nature of everyone else in subsidising GWS will stop.
"It's a big one and they've got the horsepower and it could be very interesting and it's certainly worth exploring what's going on up there."
GWS and Essendon were in negotiations as recently as the start of March about playing a Giants home match for premiership points in the United States at some stage in the future.