Will all 18 clubs survive? Gill answers tough question
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has guaranteed all 18 clubs will survive the COVID-19 hiatus, moving to silence speculation around cash-strapped clubs could be forced to merge or become insolvent.
North Melbourne, Melbourne, St Kilda, Port Adelaide and expansion clubs GWS Giants and Gold Coast are among clubs most exposed to the financial cost of the global health emergency.
But McLachlan has refused to add to the speculation.
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"We're going into this with 18 clubs and we'll go out with 18 clubs," McLachlan said on SEN.
"That's our commitment over the next four, six, eight, 10 months (however long it takes to get back to playing).
"Right now our task is to preserve revenue streams, cut costs … so when we can restart … (we restart) with 18 teams."
It comes after the AFL secured a huge line of credit, more than $500m reportedly, from the NAB and ANZ banks to cover costs and keep the game going.
The AFL-owned Marvel Stadium was used to broker the landmark deal.
"Our game is going to be here … and I can assure everyone, our game will come out the other side," he said.
"Whatever time we come back our game will return (AFL and community level).
"We got a good balance sheet, whether it should be bigger or smaller … for any business, no matter how big it is, when it stops and there are no games and no revenues, it is hugely challenging.
"I'm not complaining I'm just explaining."
Originally published as Will all 18 clubs survive? Gill answers tough question