AFL to fight 'financial crisis': McLachlan

Shayne Hope
The AFL believes all 18 clubs will survive financially despite coronavirus pausing the season

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan believes the league and all of its 18 clubs will survive despite being forced to put the season on hold until at least May 31 because of the coronavirus crisis.

Football industry finances will suffer significantly from the global impact of COVID-19, with Brisbane chief executive Greg Swann revealing the Lions are set to lose $5 million in gate takings.

Port Adelaide boss David Koch said this week calling off games would be a "nightmare scenario" which might lead to financially weaker clubs folding.

Some, such as St Kilda, are already in massive debt and several are heavily reliant on AFL funding to stay afloat.

McLachlan admitted it was the "biggest financial crisis" the game has ever faced.

"It's a challenge, but we'll get there," McLachlan said.

"The federal treasurer today gave some comfort for businesses for the next six months, which is a start, and we're obviously working collectively to secure liquidity so that we protect the AFL and all our 18 clubs.

"That's what we've been working on over the last week."

McLachlan said clubs would announce within 48 hours "drastic and immediate measures" to cut costs within 48 hours.

They have already put their state league programs on hold and face the prospect of mass staff redundancies.

"This is a very human part of the business and this virus is taking a very personal toll physically on many people and will continue to do so," McLachlan said.

"But the economic cost and the livelihood cost is significant as well.

"We've got to stay united and work through it as a community in whatever industry you're in."