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.”