AFL clubs urged to unify amidst black hole

Justin Chadwick
"All we can do is stay together and understand there will be change," the Eagles' Adam Simpson says

West Coast coach Adam Simpson is calling on the entire league to unite and do whatever it takes to survive as the AFL faces the biggest financial crisis in its long history.

The AFL season has been put on hold until at least May 31 in response to the coronavirus pandemic and there's no guarantees the campaign will be able to resume again this year.

The financial hole left by the crisis will hit the AFL hard and there are fears some clubs will struggle to survive.

West Coast are better equipped to deal with the financial crisis given they are one of the richest clubs in the league.

But Simpson fears for the poorer clubs, including his former club North Melbourne.

The premiership coach said it was important for the entire league to confront the battle with a united front.

"We're hurting at West Coast but I know North are hurting too and St Kilda. Every club is in it together," Simpson said.

"The industry will do it as a collective. It will probably mean change in jobs, change across the whole industry in how we manage our staff and players.

"All we can do is stay together and understand there will be change. Not tomorrow, it will be down the track.

"When that happens, I think all forms of leadership in our industry have put their hand up to say, 'Whatever it takes we'll do', and we're no different."

Clubs are already moving to trim non-essential staff in a bid to drastically slash costs, while players will be asked to take a pay cut.

Players will effectively go on leave this week as the nation locks down in a bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.