Massive loan to help AFL sail through coronavirus crisis



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The Australian Football League (AFL) has secured an enormous line of credit from the National Australia Bank (NAB) and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) recently to keep the game on life support amidst the deteriorating coronavirus scene the world over.

ausleisure.com reported that due to the current coronavirus situation which is escalating by the day, the AFL is facing severe fiscal issues. It is reported to be close to securing a $600 million loan facility to sail through and beyond the current coronavirus crisis.

The Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional men’s competition of Australian rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport’s governing body, and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game. The league currently consists of 18 teams spread over five of Australia’s six States (Tasmania being the exception).

ausleisure.com further reported that with the AFL having secured a pay deal with the AFL Players Association that will see players agreeing to terms on a 50 percent pay cut until the end of May, AFL journalist Damien Barrett reports the League is now on the verge of securing a loan of up to $600 million which will allow the game to operate throughout 2020 irrespective of the fact whether matches are played or not.

If the season is delayed even further post-May, the pay cut will increase to 70 percent, but will revert to 50 percent once games start again.

Barrett stated, “Two major projects the AFL embarked on, one was to get the agreement of the players with their pay deal. The second project and this is the one I expect some announcement very soon, which is a financial lifeline to the tune of up to $600 million to be given to the AFL.”

“It’s not a grant, it’s not a gift, and it’s a loan. It will allow the AFL to operate throughout 2020 no matter what happens, we play games or we don’t play games. The negotiations with the banks are still ongoing, and it will be done soon,” Barrett informed.

The AFL is set to get a shot in the arm with a $600 million lifeline as the game maneuvers its way through the coronavirus shutdown.

The money will be used to keep the clubs afloat and players paid as much as keep the league running.

Barrett further explained, “It’s not straight to the AFL. It will obviously go to the players, it will go to the clubs. It’s an industry-wide guarantee. It’s a straight loan. It’s going to have to be paid back!”

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan assured again that the loan was still due to the “most serious threat to our game in our history”, and that the game was still set to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in 2020.

The loans will provide instant financial relief for the clubs and league, which has been brought to a complete standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chances of any games resuming before June looks dim, and games resuming in June also seems a remote possibility.

Media reports stated that the league had also set up three “working groups” involving the head honchos of all 18 clubs. They relate to finance, membership and State leagues.
 

Coronavirus count

To date, Australia has 6,400 coronavirus cases and 61 deaths.

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