Payments banned to ensure SANFL survival

Shayne Hope
SANFL players, coaches and umpires won't be paid in 2020 in order to keep the competition going

One of Australia's premier state-based football competitions - the SANFL - hopes to safeguard its future by operating as an amateur league this year.

Players, coaches and umpires will all work without payment under a plan designed to ensure the SANFL and its eight stand-alone clubs survive the coronavirus-inflicted financial crisis.

The league's key figures will, however, receive the Federal Government's JobKeeper package.

SANFL chief executive Jake Parkinson told ABC Grandstand on Sunday the clubs could not afford to have a season if players and officials were to receive their normal payments.

"Clubs are just not in a position to make payments to players right across all of our eight clubs," Parkinson said.

"From the very beginning we've said we are looking to come through all of this with the SANFL and the SANFL clubs able to compete for another 143 years.

"That's been the priority and the players said, 'Well, look, we want a season and if that means we go back on the ground and we don't receive payment, then that's what we'll do'.

"That's been the vast majority of the players who've been in that position."

The SANFL's return-to-play plan involves players resuming non-contact training from May 18 in groups of up to 10.

The return date for the season to start is yet to be determined, but crowds are considered a possibility at matches later in the year.

Other premier state leagues, including the VFL and WAFL, are in serious doubt to return this year.

Some historic state-league clubs, such as East Fremantle and Port Melbourne, have launched fundraising initiatives in attempts to ensure their survival beyond this year.