The Fremantle Football Club has responded to the AFL’s suspension of the 2020 season by imposing unprecedented austerity measures designed to ensure the club survives the fallout from the Covid-19 crisis.
After Sunday’s announcement to suspend the 2020 AFL Premiership Season and cancel the AFLW Season, Fremantle chief executive officer Simon Garlick said that the game, and its 18 clubs, undoubtedly faced the biggest financial crisis in football history.
“These are unprecedented times which require unprecedented responses, just as is happening to people and businesses everywhere in the community,” Garlick said
“We, like everyone in the community, need to do whatever is required to help stop the spread of Covid-19, and that requires us to completely restructure the way we manage our club operations.
“While our club has faced its challenges before it is impossible to overstate the implications this crisis has for the very existence of the Fremantle Football Club.”
More than 75 per cent of the club’s staff have been stood down.
The club has also moved to a minimal base line operations structure, establishing a skeleton crew of staff on severely reduced hours to ensure the club remains operational during the suspension period.
Staff, who were advised of the cuts during the past 24-hours, were also warned further cost cutting may be required.
The club’s AFLW players had their premiership quest derailed, after the AFL ruled that the NAB AFL Women’s 2020 season would cease immediately.
Fremantle’s AFL players were sent on a minimum four weeks leave on Monday, still uncertain of their return to playing date with the AFL saying it will wait until the end of April to review the 31 May suspension date.
Garlick said it been an extremely difficult and emotional 48-hours for every single person who works for the club.
“Since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, the highest priority in our decision making has been the health and well-being of our people, who are passionately committed to the club and whom I am incredibly proud of,” Garlick said.
“Our players and staff, along with our passionate fan base, are our strongest assets, and yesterday was a dark day for our club as we communicated these decisions to our people.
“These extremely tough decisions have been made with one hope in mind - that we can rebound as a club financially at some point in the future and have our people, who mean so much to us, return to the fold at Freo.”
“We believe taking these measures on jobs today presents the best opportunity for jobs tomorrow.”