Chief executive Gillon McLachlan has announced a major staff restructure at the AFL. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS

Australian rules football

AFL sheds jobs amid further financial pain

2020-08-24 16:54:31

The AFL’s drastic cost-cutting measures in the face of the COVID-19 financial crisis will result in about 20 per cent of league jobs disappearing as part of a significant national restructure.

Announced on Monday, the move comes as the AFL faces a revenue hit of about $400 million this year.

The league had previously stood down about 80 per cent of its workforce in March and the new structure – which affects some of the AFL’s highly paid executives – will come into effect on November 1.

“For our industry and game to emerge stronger from this ongoing COVID-19 challenge and the increased uncertainty we face over coming years, we need to significantly change our business model for not only the AFL but the wider football community,” AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said.

“We have very clear priorities that we need to focus on, and I am confident that we have made the right decisions around the structure needed to deliver on those key priorities.”

Long-standing executive Darren Birch will leave the AFL in the coming weeks, while the man in charge of the Marvel Stadium redevelopment, Ray Gunston, will transition to an advisory role.

Former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott, who joined the AFL this year in a game innovation role, will become the head of AFL Victoria as some state bodies are integrated into the central organisation.

McLachlan’s executive will consist of Steve Hocking, Travis Auld, Andrew Dillon, Tanya Hosch, Kylie Rogers, Sarah Fair, Walter Lee and Brian Walsh.

“The reality is that we will lose talented, committed, passionate football people from our organisation and that is incredibly difficult, but this pandemic has forced every business, every family and every individual to take steps that no-one had planned,” McLachlan said.

“The necessity of operating differently during the pandemic, along with experiencing a reduction in revenue, has forced us to explore and understand what we can do differently and what we are capable of, and also what we need to continue to achieve to keep the industry strong.”

McLachlan said the league would look to appoint a new senior national talent diversity manager to lead Indigenous and multicultural talent programs.

Further changes to the AFL’s Indigenous Advisory Council will be implemented following a review by former Essendon and Melbourne chief executive Peter Jackson.

The AFL has also flagged a revised model for second-tier and elite junior competitions.

The governing body’s job cuts follow football department redundancies across AFL clubs in recent weeks as they prepare for a reduction in their spending cap next season.