K rock Football

AFL thrown bank lifeline

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

THE AFL has secured a line of credit with banks which will allow the league to continue operating through the coronavirus crisis.

The deal, announced on Monday, comes a week after the AFL and all of its clubs had been forced to stand down about 80 per cent of staff in the face of the biggest financial crisis to hit the sport.

It also follows a restructured deal being agreed on between the AFL and players, who will take a significant pay cut.

The total amount derived from the AFL loans is reportedly more than $500 million.

“I want to thank the NAB and the ANZ for their support, but I also want to stress that while this is a relief, it is not a return to business as usual or a release valve,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said.

“The football community is, like businesses across every sector, still very much in the financial fight of its life with the losses this year stretching to many hundreds of millions of dollars.

“What this means is we have a chance to get through but we will only get through this period if we are united as an industry and every one of us at all levels of the AFL continue to make the hard decisions to drastically and urgently cut costs.”

The AFL’s decision to purchase Marvel Stadium – then known as Etihad Stadium – in 2016 was crucial in recent days as the league leveraged the venue ownership in negotiations with the banks.

McLachlan said the AFL was committed to playing the remaining 144 games of the 2020 season, plus finals, and implored football fans to adhere to government advice to slow the coronavirus spread.

© AAP 2020