ST KILDA chief executive Matt Finnis has stressed that the club is not fighting for its survival in the midst of the game's COVID-19 suspension period, despite asking its members for additional financial support last week.
The Saints launched a new membership campaign last Friday, asking fans to 'pledge their loyalty' through either fundraising efforts, by renewing their memberships or by making a financial donation to the club.
The campaign website said that St Kilda was "fighting for our future, not only to survive but to emerge as a competitive force in the AFL".
Thank you to everyone who has pledged so far ??— St Kilda FC (@stkildafc) May 10, 2020
This isn't a fight we can without you, our loyal supporters.
Pledge your support today. #TogetherWeRise
However, Finnish has clarified that the club will survive the financial implications of the coronavirus shutdown, saying the campaign is instead designed to help the Saints return as one of the competition's strongest sides.
"At the end of the day, St Kilda will survive this," Finnis told radio station SEN.
"But I don't think survival is enough for our members, we want to come out of this as a competitive force. We can really thrive on and off the field."
Finnis conceded that the timing of the global pandemic, combined with the club's debt following its return to Moorabbin, has had an impact on its bottom line.
However, he reiterated that the Saints are still aiming to emerge from the suspension period in a strong position.
"We're all going to be worse off in an absolute sense," Finnis said.
"But in a relative sense, it may well be that the Saints can come out of this better than others. We're not as exposed to the losses from big match returns, like some other clubs are.
"If we trim our sales accordingly and we're smart, then we think in a relative sense we can come out ahead of others."