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AFL boots staff as pandemic hits finances

Football

Close to 20 per cent of roles across the AFL nationally will disappear as part of a significant restructure due to the financial effects of COVID-19.

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The AFL announced details of its planned restructure – with a new structure to come into effect on November 1 – on Monday, which included multiple changes to and reductions in its staffing.

The league had previously stood down about 80 per cent of its workforce in March.

“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.”

The governing body’s impending job cuts follow football department redunancies across AFL clubs in recent weeks.

AFL executive Darren Birch is among those to depart while Ray Gunston will transition to an advisory role.

Steve Hocking, Travis Auld, Andrew Dillon, Tanya Hosch, Kylie Rogers, Sarah Fair, Walter Lee and Brian Walsh will serve on the executive under McLachlan.

“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.”

The changes will also see state offices in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory integrated into the national organisation, with former North Melbourne coach Brad Scott to head up AFL Victoria.

The AFL also flagged a revised model for second-tier and elite junior competitions, while McLachlan said the league would look to appoint a new senior national talent diversity manager to lead Indigenous and multicultural talent programs.

-AAP

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