Taylor Adams of the Magpies.
Taylor Adams of the Magpies.

AFL season in doubt, ‘clubs could go under’

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Gillon McLachlan is set to hold a press conference on Sunday afternoon amid strong speculation the AFL season will be shut down for two months or more.

McLachlan will update the public after Daniel Andrews shut down Victoria from Tuesday onwards. Football is almost certainly done for the foreseeable future.

Round 1's last three games continued this afternoon.

But there is little prospect of the season continuing amid speculation the AFL will announce the season takes a hiatus of several months.

Earlier, Prime Minister Scott Morrison cancelled all non-essential travel in the country.

The league is currently working through the ramifications of that decision ahead of another meeting of the country's "wartime" cabinet on Sunday night.

Today's three AFL games and AFLW final are going ahead as scheduled but as Victoria prepares to shut down its schools from Tuesday Morrison's declaration could be a game-changer.

Andrews said all "non-essential" services would be shut down for 48 hours.

 

 

With borders shut by individual states the league could by strict definition continue the season with players undertaking employment that is essential.

But the AFL and its coronavirus cabinet could also make the decision to suspend the season for the foreseeable future given the perception of playing while the country is in lockdown.

A shutdown would likely be for many months given the coronavirus has not peaked and Morrison warned the measures could be in place would be there for six months.

Asked if the AFL season will end because of restrictions on non-essential travel, Morrison said authorities would consider "new arrangements".

He said of sporting codes continuing: "I'm sure we can work those issues through on a practical case-by-case basis".

Port Adelaide chairman David Koch today told 3AW he was open to the suggestion that clubs played one more round of derbies and instate contests, with the Power playing Adelaide in Round 2.

 

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Taylor Adams and Collingwood are due to open Round 2 against Richmond Thursday night.
Taylor Adams and Collingwood are due to open Round 2 against Richmond Thursday night.

 

He admitted if the AFL didn't handle this crisis properly clubs would go out of business.

"It is the greatest threat to our game that we have been through in probably multiple generations," he said.

"There is no doubt about that.

"Don't underestimate if we don't handle this well, our game out the other side of this bridge won't look like everyone has been used to."

Asked about the potential loss of clubs, he replied: "Of course we could (lose clubs).

"It is that serious, but let me tell you every single club and the AFL, what has been achieved in the last 10 days is fricking remarkable.

"The co-operation, the collegiate thinking has been amazing and we are all working our backside off to make sure we get through this and it is no simple matter."

AFL legend Leigh Matthews told Seven's GameDay he believed the AFL's captains should all declare they would take pay cuts as a symbol they were prepared to sacrifice.

"Tell you what I would love - the 10 people on the AFL executive have volunteered a 20 per pay cut. The 18 coaches have volunteered a pay cut. How about the AFL 18 captains showing leadership. They know they will have to take more than a 20 per cent pay cut. But volunteer it as an example to the 800 players."

It came as Seven broadcaster Hamish McLachlan, the brother of AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, said Eddie McGuire's projections of a $500 million bloodbath could be underestimating the financial losses.

"I reckon, to be honest, that might be light on. There are $418 million in TV broadcast alone. If we only get one round out of the way that disappeared, plus the gate (ticket sales), plus sponsors plus the membership."

Originally published as AFL set to make call on 2020 season



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