Brisbane Lions players will reportedly be stood down without pay, while the Gold Coast Suns football department are being told to explore other employment options, following the AFL’s decision to postpone the 2020 season.
The Age reports the Suns staff have been stood down indefinitely, as the COVID-19 pandemic causes unprecedented disruption around the world.
AFL boss Gillon McLaughlin foreshadowed the moves yesterday, when he said the next couple of days would be spent finalising a financial model for the clubs in the absence of any on-field action.
Brisbane CEO Greg Swann says the events of the last 24 hours have shocked the code.
“Our men’s players found out in the rooms after a tough Round 1 loss to Hawthorn and as you can imagine, the news was met with disbelief and silence,” he wrote in a letter to club members this morning.
“Whilst this is obviously a disappointing outcome, the club supports the extremely tough decision and the hard work and collaboration with stakeholders that has gone into making it. If you had have told me a month ago this is what our 2020 season would look like, I wouldn’t have believed you.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure the cFinlub’s financial stability and there will need to be some really tough decisions made, but we’re committed to ensuring that your club still exists in six months’ time, in a years’ time and in 50 years’ time.
“In order to do that, we will be implementing a series of significant measures that will shore up our finances and we will aim to be as transparent as possible as we move through the process. We will also provide members with more information as to how best to support the club through these trying times – because we do need your help.
“There are many people who are impacted by the AFL’s decision, not least of which are our loyal and hard-working staff and players. Their wellbeing as we work through this is paramount and we will support them through whatever lies ahead.”
The message was similar from Gold Coast Suns boss Mark Evans.
“I know many of you will be doing it tough as the impact of this virus hits hard. Sadly, those impacts look set to continue for some time to come,” he said.
“Our club and industry is in for a very rough ride too. Like many of you, we must make some tough and strategic decisions to ensure our ongoing viability so we are in a position to bounce back strongly when the footy season resumes.”