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AFL chief insists all 18 clubs will survive as Covid-19 causes financial crisis

Several Irish players have been impacted by the massive pay cuts.

AFL action is currently shut down since the Round 1 games.
AFL action is currently shut down since the Round 1 games.
Image: AAP/PA Images

THE AFL CHIEF executive insists all 18 clubs in the league will survive the financial crisis caused by the current coronavirus pandemic amidst speculation of potential mergers.

Yesterday it emerged the AFL has secured a line of credit with banks NAB and ANZ to ensure it continues operating and on Friday had struck a pay deal with the Players’ Association.

Under the arrangement players have agreed to take a 50% pay cut for at least April and May, and then a 70% reduction from June if matches are still unable to be played.

Several Irish players are impacted with Mayo’s Pearce Hanley (Gold Coast Suns), Kerry’s Mark O’Connor and Laois player Zach Tuohy (both Geelong), Tipperary’s Colin O’Riordan (Sydney Swans) and Tyrone’s Conor McKenna (Essendon) some of the leading stars involved.

The AFL is currently suspended after being postponed following the opening round of matches with the situation described as ‘the most serious threat’ to the game in 100 years.

But chief executive Gillon McLachlan is adamant that all clubs in the current structure have a future despite a discussion on club mergers or relocation in some sections of Australian media.

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afl-gillon-mclachlan-presser AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan (file photo) Source: AAP/PA Images

“We are going into this with 18 clubs and we will come out with 18 clubs,” McLachlan told SEN radio today.

“18 in, 18 out is not just what we’re saying, but it’s our focus. We’ve got a period of time here – whether it’s two months, four months, six months, I don’t know – where we’re working united as an industry.

“There’ll be 18 clubs rebounding together, protecting elite footy and the industry and that flows into local footy and the community in general.” 

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Fintan O'Toole

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