The AFL have secured a line of credit to cushion the blow of the delayed season, but it remains unclear how the AFLW will be affected by financial uncertainty in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
It was announced yesterday that the AFL have secured lines of credit with ANZ and NAB in order to sustain the league through the public health crisis that necessitated the cancellation of the AFLW and the postponement of the men’s league.
The loss of revenue from the delayed season has seen the AFL take significant hits that have resulted in a reduction of the AFL’s national workforce by 80 per cent and a wage cut for the players. The clubs have also reportedly made similar sacrifices in staffing in an attempt to weather the storm and keep the clubs operating.
AFL Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan said that the $500 million parachute would provide some relief, but that it would not constitute “a return to business as usual”.
"The football community is – like businesses across every sector - still very much in the financial fight of its life with the losses this year stretching to many hundreds of millions of dollars.”
While he also confirmed that the AFL is committed to playing the remaining 144 games and finals series of the Toyota AFL Premiership season, he made no statement addressing the future of the AFLW.
While it may be hoped that the AFLW will be comparatively unaffected, as far distant as it is, it seems unlikely that the rippling affects of the dramatic losses in revenue will not touch the women’s league.
There is certainly speculation that the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will affect every aspect of Australian society for many months to come, in which case, the AFLW will be at risk of losing the momentum it has worked hard to sustain since its inaugural season.