This is an unprecedented time in the history of our country, impacting on every aspect of our lives, both personally and professionally.
In order to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we all need to play our role in helping to slow the spread of the virus and to ensure we flatten the curve to reduce the impact on our hospital facilities and the medical system for the sake of everyone’s wellbeing. We owe our health professionals a great debt for their selfless service to us all.
As we have said before, footy is a game but not the main game. The main game for all of us remains ensuring the safety of everyone - families, friends and the wider community.
While this is one of the biggest challenges to face the community, this is also one of the biggest challenges to face football in more than 160 years.
At every level of the game, from the 18 elite AFL clubs down to community football and Auskickers, Australians are currently unable to play and watch the game we love, severely limiting the ability to be part of the footy clubs and communities that are so important within our lives.
Which is why I want to assure you the AFL Commission and Executive, led by myself and Gillon McLachlan, will protect our game at all levels. From the 18 AFL clubs, to the 14 AFLW teams, to State leagues and the community game, footy will be back when it is the right time to be back.
For the time being, we have needed to reduce costs at AFL level, at our AFL clubs and across the states and territories dramatically, without regular revenue coming into the game, and this has been extremely difficult for everyone involved but we are conscious that this is not an easy time for anyone in the community.
With the support of NAB and ANZ as funding partners, we have been able to secure the funding that we need to enable continued operations, that will ensure that all parts of the game are protected for the longer term. It is a very important step and I want to thank NAB and ANZ while also acknowledging the AFL and our clubs still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.?
Our clubs have made difficult and hard decisions, while our players have stepped forward to show their support in taking salary cuts and agreeing to the flexibility that will enable us to run a season. Everyone is aligned and united in taking the actions to get through and I want to thank them sincerely for their response.
In my regular contact with the club Presidents, as well as those Commissioners and Presidents who are part of the AFL Council created to address this situation, the commitment by all to the future of our game has been both strong and reassuring.
We will come through this period together because of this united approach.
All stakeholders across the industry – players, coaches, clubs, staff, corporate and broadcast partners, members and supporters -- are united in doing everything necessary to ensure the game we love remains strong for every level of the community across the country.
We have had great support from our major partners and broadcasters who have backed us to work our way through this. Our game thanks all of those partners and broadcasters who share our values.
And although our Toyota AFL Premiership season might look a little different when we return to play, it will still be there for football supporters. It might mean we have to watch from our living rooms for a while, but your club colours are just as important as if you were sitting in the outer.
Whenever we return, I am hoping the footy this season provides you with a sense of normality and joy but right now the major focus of all clubs and the players is that our supporters and staff and their families continue to follow the guidelines to stay safe and healthy.
We will make it through this together.
Together as clubs, together as states and territories, together as community leagues, together as a football community.
Above all, I want to sincerely thank club members and supporters for the way they have backed their clubs, understanding the difficulties they are facing.
This time has reconfirmed once again that the passion of our supporters is the lifeblood of the game and that the game cannot prosper without you. Your clubs are equally concerned about your health and wellbeing as fans, so please look after yourselves and follow the safety messages.
This game has so much history and is so important to thousands of communities across Australia and millions of football supporters. One of the great strengths of our game is how it brings us all, from our various backgrounds together. This unity in diversity is and will continue to be important.
Our commitment is to protect the long-term viability of our game at all levels. At the end of the day, those of us with leadership responsibility in our game will continue to lead us through this, but we – with you the supporters – are stewards of this great game. All of us together. And it is what we create together that makes both AFL and AFLW what it is today.
This remains a complicated and evolving situation that reminds us that we are all part of a broader society with a responsibility to look out for one another.
We encourage you to visit both afl.com.au and your club’s website for the latest news, updates and features to stay connected to the game.
Finally, I want to assure all supporters of all clubs that the AFL and the 18 clubs are facing this challenge together, and that all 18 AFL clubs will come through the other end.
Richard Goyder, AO
Chairman, Australian Football League Commission
The West Australian Football Commission today announced a broad range of financial sustainability measures to support WA Football during the Coronavirus crisis.
WAFC CEO Gavin Taylor said the measures were based on football not returning until at least May 31st and the significant changes that are impacting upon the football economy.
“We know that football, like many other organisations and businesses in our community, needs to take unprecedented action to survive the economic impact of the Coronavirus,” Mr Taylor said.
“The WAFC risks losing half of its revenue this year which means we have been forced to make extremely difficult decisions about our people, competitions and the programs that we help to fund and support.”
“Today every person in our organisation has either been stood down or had their salary significantly reduced. It’s with a heavy heart that we have had to make such significant changes to our business which impact our greatest asset, our people. We are putting support and provisions in place to support our people through this period.”
“I am deeply saddened to see the impact this situation is having on our community, the game of football, and the livelihood of the people who make it great.”
“We will continue to support the safety and well-being of our staff, players, coaches, umpires, officials and volunteers the best that we possibly can so they can take care of themselves and their families, as we work our way through this situation.”
The sustainability measures that have been put in place by the WAFC include:
• Closure of WAFC offices at Tuart College and all associated costs.
• 72 full-time WAFC staff being stood down, with further reviews in line with the football close-down period until May 31st, 2020.
• WAFC CEO and Executive taking reduction in salary.
• Remaining WAFC staff to work limited hours with a resultant reduced salary.
• Freeze on WAFC recruitment and discretionary spending.
• A 50% reduction in funding to WAFL clubs from May 31st.
• Establishing a WA Football COVID-19 Emergency Sustainability Fund to assist leagues and clubs across WA.
• Implementing both WAFL and community club support packages to provide guidance to clubs on reviewing operations and making sustainable savings.
• Assisting WAFL clubs with access to emergency loans if they are still facing financial challenges after undertaking operational and cost saving measures.
• Forming a COVID-19 - Industry Steering Group to guide and support the WAFC and football through the crisis.
“Football is in this together at all levels and we must work through this unprecedented challenge in the best interests of the future sustainability of our game,” Mr Taylor said.
“The planning and decisions we are making today will enable us to be ready to rebound when the green light is given for football to recommence. Once we get through the worst of this virus, footy will play a huge part in reconnecting communities right across Western Australia, led by our people.”
To assist clubs, the WAFC will be providing a range of support packages and resources.
The WAFC will contribute $1m from its Reserves to establish a WA Football COVID-19 Emergency Sustainability Fund and access to short term interest free loan facilities.
Funding certainty for the remainder of 2020 has also been provided for WAFL clubs and the WAFC’s affiliates including the WA Country Football League, Perth Football League, Metro Football League, AFL Masters WA and the WA Women’s Football League, to assist them with their financial planning and sustainability measures.
“Each and every one of the 463 football clubs and 55 leagues across WA is important to the future success of our game in this State and we are doing everything possible to support them all during this unprecedented challenge,” Mr Taylor said.
“I urge everyone at every level of the game to stay engaged with your club, keep in touch with coaches and teammates, and check that everyone is OK so we can get through this tough time together, whilst continuing to play our part in supporting the Government’s directions to restrict the spread of Coronavirus.”
“For footy fans, there has never been a more important time to sign up as a member of your WAFL or AFL club or offer your support in some way. I would especially like to thank all of the sponsors that have continued investing in local football clubs, including our key partners in Optus and KIA, who have been unwavering in their support of WA Football.”
“For every parent, there has never been a better time to get the kids having a kick or a handball in the backyard, so they are all set to go when our great game returns.”
“To the State Government, who this week confirmed their ongoing funding commitment, we also say thanks. The financial contribution goes to every level of WA Football, and without this we would not be in a position to survive this unprecedented crisis.”
"I am confident that these measures and our strong partnerships in football will get us through this."
WAFL Council of Presidents chairman Ric Gloede said the WAFL clubs would work together with the WAFC to put sustainability measures in place and access any support or resources available to the clubs.
“We understand that the economic impact from COVID-19 is going to flow through to all levels of our game and everyone has a role to play in overcoming these challenges together,” he said.
“We will do everything we possibly can to preserve our historic WAFL competition and its clubs and thank everyone who has shown their support or commitment to help us do that.”
“We are of the view that this interruption to the game gives everyone the opportunity to review the very structure of footy in WA when this unprecedented event is over.”
“There is no question this is going to be the biggest challenge that the WAFL and the WAFC have ever faced but I’m confident that with the support of our fans, members , sponsors and the broader WA community we can come out of this on top.”
The WA Country Football League in conjunction with Nutrien Ag Solutions has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Nutrien Ag Country Football Championships (formerly Landmark Country Football Championships) as a result of the circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 crisis and current restrictions placed on all levels of football around Australia. The cancellation extends to the CBH Group Colts Championships and the Women’s Country Football Championships which were all due to be held in July.
Whilst all football is currently postponed until May 31, the WACFL believes it is in the best interest of leagues and clubs to cancel the 2020 Championships to help leagues reduce costs as well as provide adequate flexibility of fixturing in preparation for the season to recommence post May 31.
Dear WA Football community,
On behalf of the West Australian Football Commission, we thank you for the solidarity, support and understanding you have displayed as we tackle one of the greatest challenges our game has ever faced.
The thousands of volunteers, players, coaches, umpires, staff, officials and key leaders who make our great game possible are at the forefront of every decision we make during this difficult time. Without you, the game we all love simply wouldn’t exist.
The WAFC is responsible for all levels of football across Western Australia. From Auskick to WAFL there are more than 67,000 players at 463 clubs in 55 community Leagues and competitions.
Each and every one of these participants, Leagues and Clubs is important to the future success of our game in this State. The WAFC is doing everything possible to support all levels of the game during this unprecedented challenge, so they can quickly rebound and play an important role in reconnecting communities.
For our WAFL Clubs and our Affiliate Leagues who play an important part across our pathways and community football, we will work in partnership to find our way through these difficult times so we can recover and prosper on the other side.
The West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Football Club, who each make a significant contribution to WA’s football economy and support the growth of our game, are also facing uncertain times, so it is important we offer them our support and make sure we tune into every game this season.
In this period, it is vital that we are part of the whole of community response to slow down the spread of Coronavirus, to help the broader community and our health systems to cope.
As advised earlier this week competitions have been postponed until Sunday, 31st May, 2020 in an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout our community. The decision has been made together with the AFL and State football bodies around Australia as part of a national approach to protect the well-being of all players, coaches, umpires, officials, staff and volunteers across all levels of our game.
We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope. As such we will take advice from the necessary medical and health experts on a decision to when we resume the 2020 season.
We are united across our industry in making hard decisions necessary to protect the health and livelihoods of our football community.
We understand how disappointing it is that local footy has been postponed and the struggle that many clubs will be facing to survive. Make sure you stay in touch with your club, coaches and teammates, and check that everyone has the support they need to get through this tough time together.
This is an ever-changing landscape and we will continue to rely on expert advice from the AFL, Government and Health authorities, to make the best decisions to sustain all of WA Football and to support the broader community we are all part of.
As an organisation, like many of our Clubs, we are immediately acting to ensure we have a financial model that supports us through this crisis. We are currently securing key revenue streams, making savings across our business, including the closure of Tuart College to protect our people and reduce costs. These are challenging and difficult times but with prudent financial management we will all find a way through.
We are also working with the AFL to develop a club support package to provide guidance and support for how Clubs can review their operations and approach in making sustainable savings. This is being worked on across this weekend and we will look to provide to the industry over coming days.
Our game and the people that make our game great are resilient. Let’s come together and work in the best interests of our game so we can rebound quickly and at the right time, play a key part in reconnecting communities right across Western Australia.
Thanks again for your support.
In a united decision with the AFL and other State football bodies, the West Australian Football Commission has agreed to postpone all senior and junior community football in both metropolitan and regional Western Australia.
Consistent with the decision yesterday in relation to State League football and talent programs, all community football competitions will be postponed until 31st May 2020.
This includes Auskick, AFL 9s and community AFLX competitions, and also extends to football training sessions and face-to-face education courses.
The recommendation was collectively agreed upon based on the nature of shared public facilities across community football clubs and the health and safety of football’s volunteer network.
WAFC CEO Gavin Taylor said the health and well-being of players, coaches, umpires, officials, volunteers and the local community was at the forefront of the decision.
“The WAFC is determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow down the spread of Corornavirus and help the broader community and our health systems to cope,” he said.
“We strongly agree with the AFL and other State football bodies that given the current climate of uncertainty and complexity it is best to take decisive action now.”
“We will be working through this postponement with all senior and junior competitions and affiliates throughout WA over the coming days and remain committed to offering our full support to community football during this time.”
“Football is part of the fabric of our community and we will do everything possible to ensure we can overcome this unprecedented challenge together so that football not only survives, but thrives.”
The WAFC will continue to meet with the AFL and other State football bodies in relation to community football and will continually review this decision based on the changing circumstances and advice from government and relevant health authorities and medical experts.
Whilst the WAFC will continue to provide updates at www.wafootball.com.au/covid19 the football community is also urged to remain informed about Coronavirus via the following key sources of information:
Australian Government Department of Health
WA Government Department of Health
Will the WAFL & WAFLW season go ahead in 2020?
The WAFL and WAFLW competitions have been postponed until May 31st in an effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus throughout our community. The decision has been made together with the AFL and State football bodies around Australia as part of a national approach to protect the well-being of all players, coaches, umpires, officials, staff and volunteers.
Why has WAFL Club funding only been committed up until May 31st?
The WAFC will act in the best interests of our game, being prudent on spending only what we can afford whilst exploring all options to lead the industry through this difficult period.
We have a responsibility to all levels of football in Western Australia and must take this approach to financial management to ensure we can see out this difficult period, with the uncertainty of not knowing how long the current conditions will last. We will work with our WAFL Clubs and look to provide assurances to our Clubs once our full financial situation is better understood, amongst this changing landscape.
Football is a resilient industry and means so much to our community. We all need to act quickly to implement sustainability measures and ensure our clubs at all levels get through this challenging period but can also quickly rebound, so our great game can play its important part in reconnecting communities.
We remain committed to working with and supporting our industry through this difficult period.
Are talent programs also being postponed?
Both female and male talent programs across Western Australia, including Colts, Futures and Jan Cooper Cup, will be postponed until the end of May. This is in conjunction with the postponement of WAFL and WAFLW. Players and parents will be notified of any changes over the coming weeks.
What about community football and Auskick?
All community football, both metropolitan & regional, across Western Australia has been postponed until May 31st in an effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus throughout our community. The decision has been made together with the AFL and State football bodies around Australia as part of a national approach to protect the well-being of all players, coaches, umpires, officials, staff and volunteers.
When does the postponement come into effect?
The decision to postpone all football in Western Australia is effective now. Training and face-to-face education sessions should have ceased from the decision being announced on Tuesday March 17.
I have paid my membership / registration fees will I get a reimbursement?
The WAFC is working with stakeholders to discuss the financial implications of the postponement of all levels of football across Western Australia. In consultation with key stakeholders, we will review our decisions around registration fees. The impacted parties will be contacted in due course.
Can training continue despite no games being played?
Effective immediately no players will be permitted clubs for training, meetings or club commitments until further notice. Conditions for players returning to clubs is being considered, with a consistent approach across the entire competition to be implemented.
Will this impact on AFL National Championships?
At this stage we are awaiting details from the AFL in relation to all male and female talent championships. Players and parents will be made aware of any changes that come to hand.
How will this effect AFL & AFLW National Drafts?
The WAFC remains in discussions with the AFL and other State bodies about the impact on AFL National Drafts and will provide an update as soon as possible.
What’s going to happen with fixtures after May 31st?
The WAFC will be working through this with the relevant clubs, competitions and affiliated bodies and will provide an update as soon as possible. We will commence looking at a range of options for what could occur post May 31st, however we will take the advice of the AFL, the Government and relevant health authorities.
What happens if the situation hasn’t improved by May 31st?
This is an ever-changing landscape and we will continue to rely on the advice of health authorities, the government and AFL with the health and safety of our players, umpires and staff at the forefront of our decision-making. The WAFC will be working through this with the AFL and other State bodies and will provide an update as soon as possible.
How will WAFL clubs survive with no revenue from matches?
The WAFC will be working through the impact on WAFL Clubs, members, players, staff, supporters and sponsors over the coming days. This will include reviewing operations, expenditure and sustainability strategies, so that we are well placed to get through this challenge and focus on our recovery and return to competition following the postponement.
What is the current message to WAFL players and fans?
To players, continue preparations for the season to recommence after May 31 and stay in touch with your club and teammates to ensure everyone is receiving the support they need during this challenging period.
To fans, we are doing everything possible to ensure our historic WAFL competition can meet this unprecedented challenge and return as soon as possible. We appreciate your ongoing support and patience during this demanding time and look forward to seeing you back at the football soon.
How would an AFL mini-draft impact on the WAFL competition?
The WAFC will need to assess the impact of any mini-draft based on whether that goes ahead and the format that is decided. We will continue discussions as part of the national working group with the AFL and other State football bodies.
How does the decision by the AFL to reduce the length of the AFL season impact on the WAFL or grassroots footy in WA?
All State League and community football across metropolitan and regional Western Australia has been postponed until 31st May. The WAFC, as part of a national working group including the AFL and other State football bodies, will continue to review the decision based on changing circumstances and advice from the AFL, Government and relevant health authorities. Longer term, the financial impact of any AFL decision on Fremantle and West Coast will have to be assessed in relation to their funding contribution to the WAFC.
Will any financial impact on Fremantle and West Coast affect grassroots football funding?
The integrated football system in WA is heavily dependent on the success of our AFL clubs so it will be very important for the WAFC to work through this from a sustainability perspective. This will include calling on our industry to look at significant cost reductions and operational changes to ensure the game can overcome this unprecedented challenge so that football not only survives, but thrives.
Why is community football and NAB AFL Auskick postponed but the AFL / AFLW competitions are continuing?
AFL / AFLW clubs have greater ability to protect players and staff and limit the chance of players contracting COVID-19 through stringent isolation measures. Community football and NAB AFL Auskick naturally bring people from across the community together and has greater risk of COVID-19 spreading.
The medical advice received suggests that there is also great risk for transmission of COVID-19 through contact with contaminated surfaces. AFL and AFLW facilities are able to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness and also have access to world class doctors to establish the highest standards and ensure sterile environments are maintained.
The West Australian Football League, WAFLW, and WA Talent programs have been postponed until May 31st in an effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus throughout our community.
The decision has been made together with the AFL and State football bodies around Australia as part of a national approach to protect the well-being of all players, coaches, umpires, officials, staff and volunteers.
West Australian Football Commission CEO Gavin Taylor said the WAFC was now focussed on guiding and supporting WAFL clubs through this unprecedented and extremely challenging period.
“We will be working through the impact on WAFL Clubs, members, players, staff, supporters and sponsors over the coming days,” he said.
“As an industry we will come together and work through this difficult period.”
“This will include reviewing operations, expenditure and sustainability strategies, so that we are well placed to get through this challenge and focus on our recovery and return to competition following the postponement,” he said.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our football participants and the wider community that we are all a part of, and this will remain at the forefront of all decisions that are made throughout this process.”
The WAFC remains in discussions with the AFL and other State bodies with regards to the postponement of senior and junior community football competitions and will provide an update as soon as possible.
Whilst the WAFC will continue to provide updates at www.wafootball.com.au/covid19 the football community is also urged to remain informed via the following key sources of information:
The AFL wishes to advise that following a meeting with AFL State CEOs a collective decision has been made to postpone the operation and / or the commencement of each premier State League and national and state talent program across the country.
The decision was collectively agreed upon based on the part-time nature of these competitions and the financial implications for the State League clubs and State Leagues.
This decision is effective until May 31.
The AFL will continue to explore all fixturing alternatives to ensure matches are played, however, acknowledges the situation is fluid and any decision made may change.
The West Australian Football Commission’s number one priority is the health and safety of all West Australian football participants, players, umpires, officials and volunteers who underpin our great game.
The WAFC, as part of a national working group including the AFL and other State football bodies, is closely monitoring the situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) and taking advice from the Australian Government, World Health Organisation and AFL’s Chief Medical Officers regarding best practice.
AFTER steady growth over his three years in charge as Claremont coach so far, Darren Harris is looking for the Tigers to take the next step in 2020 and he feels the whole group should be ready to challenge one another to do that.
Harris took over as coach at Claremont ahead of the 2017 season marking his return to a head coaching role in the WAFL for the first time since he left West Perth where he was a premiership captain and coach to begin life in the AFL firstly at West Coast and then Carlton.
But the pull was there to coach his own team once more and with the job at Claremont vacant with Michael Broadbridge stepping down, Harris put his hand up and was ready to set things up for sustained success.
The Ellenbrook Dockers Junior Football Club and Ellenbrook Eels Senior Football Club have come together to sign an important MOU that creates a clear pathway for Junior’s through to Seniors, to facilitate closer relationships between both organisations.
Dockers President Ben Ridley said: “There was some hard work undertaken during the off season to grow the game in Ellenbrook”. Mr Ridley went on the say “To have a pathway for our Ellenbrook Kids to progress and continue on into the future, is a great outcome for our football community”
Simply Energy has extended its support of WA’s emerging football talent, by expanding its partnership to the Female Pathway for 2020, giving a major boost to the State’s AFLW Academy and Rogers Cup competitions.
The expanded partnership adds to Simply Energy’s existing support of the WAFL Colts competition and WA’s male Talent Academy.
As WA’s Official Talent Pathway Partner, the energy retailer will now become naming rights partner of the female under 18 Rogers Cup competition, and WA’s AFLW 16s and 18s Academy squads.
Simply Energy General Manager of Sales and Marketing Andrea Bernard said the expanded partnership showed Simply Energy’s commitment to supporting all WA football stars of the future.
PERTH fans deserve to be excited looking ahead to the 2020 WAFL season with the revelations that gun recruit Chris Masten is refreshed, energised and excited about football again after admitting to somewhat losing the love for the game late in his decorated AFL career.
Masten's signing is a significant one for the Demons heading into the 2020 WAFL season as they desperately try to break through that wall of a first finals appearance since 1997 having gone so close in 2019 and indeed sitting in the top five the majority of the home and away season.
Signing somebody at WAFL level the calibre of Masten doesn’t happen every day and bringing in somebody at the Demons who played 215 AFL matches including taking part in two Grand Finals and the premiership in 2018 is significant.
SOUTH Fremantle broke through for a Grand Final berth in 2019, but it didn’t go to plan and now there's plenty of excitement at the port heading into 2020 especially with the additions of three exciting recruits.
Jarrod Pickett returns to South Fremantle after time in the AFL at both the GWS Giants and Carlton while former Perth leading goalscorer Jarrod Ninyette is on board on top of the Rioli name continuing with the Bulldogs following the signing of Ben Rioli from the Northern Territory.
With three preliminary finals and a Grand Final appearance over the past four years on top of an impressive 57-19 win-loss record during the home and away season, you'd suggest Curley and the Bulldogs are doing plenty right so there's little reason for too much change.
More than 600 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander football players will participate in the 2020 Kirby Bentley Cup and Nicky Winmar Carnival at UWA Sports Park, Mt Claremont, this weekend.
The Kirby Bentley Cup will be contested by 250 girls across 15 teams, while the Nicky Winmar Carnival will feature approximately 400 boys in 14 teams.