Today saw the AFL announce the recommencement of the 2020 season. This is a day we have all been looking forward to and has brought a much-welcomed sense of anticipation and excitement for football returning on June 11.
As you are aware, for the past number of months, the Melbourne Football Club, in collaboration with all AFL clubs, have been working diligently with the AFL and State and Federal Governments to navigate through these uncharted waters collectively. Now, with the relaunch of the season upon us, we would like to thank them all for their efforts and collaboration to achieve this outcome.
We expect to receive the details about our fixture in the next week. We have been advised that it will be released in four to six-week segments to remain flexible to the changing dynamics in each state.
On the football front, we will recommence our football program at Casey Fields, which will become our Football Department’s base during the COVID-19 restrictions. This will provide our people access to an elite training facility which is isolated from other teams, and one from which we can drive an elite program.
During the break, our players have all worked incredibly hard in isolation and have shown great professionalism as a group. Led by our captain Max Gawn and vice-captain Jack Viney, they have maintained their strong level of connection, trained with intensity and have physically prepared themselves to hit the ground running for Monday’s training re-start.
Our coaching team have not sat idle during this period. Led by Simon Goodwin, they have put together a strategy to create the very best environment for our players to thrive in season 2020. So, rest assured, your team will come back fit, healthy, ready to compete and more determined than ever.
Whilst the season will return, we all know it will be different. There is no hiding from the scale and the long-lasting financial impact that this shutdown will have on the industry as a whole, and more specifically, AFL clubs.
As a Board and a Club, we are committed to providing our members with an update on our financial position and the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on that position. There is no doubt that this is going to leave a multi-million-dollar hole for the Club to fill. It could take a number of years to recover from, just to get back to the financial position we were in eight weeks ago.
On behalf of everyone at the Club, we would like to thank our members who have been amazing in their support. We have been overwhelmed by the many calls and emails from long-standing members and new members alike, who have contacted us confirming their on-going membership, and therefore, financial contribution to the Club.
This has had a profound impact on our players and coaches, so again, please don’t underestimate the impact that you are having. It gives them great strength and belief to know that you are supporting them, and whilst we won’t be watching games together to start the season, your passion for the Club has remained. That’s something that our players truly feed off.
As we’ve said before – we are all in this together, and that statement means more now than it ever has. This is your Club, and as a member in 2020, your backing is everything. If you are, however, experiencing financial hardship, we encourage you to contact us to discuss your compensation options.
The Club will continue to communicate with you on the impacts of this crisis and how they affect you as a member. This is a rapidly changing environment, but we will keep you updated along the journey.
Once again, on behalf of everyone at the Club, thank you. Our members are standing up for us in a time of significant need, and this gives us great confidence. With a lot of hard work, passion and leadership, we will bounce back from this to be a Club where you all feel proud to belong.
Glen Bartlett and Gary Pert