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Money a sticking point as VFL clubs try to map out a shortened season

Money a sticking point as VFL clubs try to map out a shortened season

The VFL season remains up in the air, but Sandringham says if it does go ahead players will have to play for nothing unless the AFL covers all costs.

Paul Amy, Jon Ralph, Bayside Leader

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May 4, 2020 3:30pm

Max King marking for Sandringham last season.

Max King marking for Sandringham last season.

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The VFL season should only go ahead if the AFL is prepared to bankroll it or players agree to play for nothing.

That’s the call from Sandringham secretary Dennis Galimberti as league and club officials try to salvage a season from the coronavirus pandemic.

The VFL draw for 2020 BC – before coronavirus – had 15 teams playing 21 home-and-away rounds.

But if the league does kick off this year, it will almost certainly be with eight sides or less.

Officials are discussing a scenario in which AFL clubs Carlton, Collingwood, Geelong, Richmond, Western Bulldogs, North Melbourne and Essendon take no part in the competition.

That would leave stand-alones Coburg, Port Melbourne, Williamstown, Werribee and Frankston, and aligned clubs Box Hill Hawks, Sandringham and Casey as the teams competing in a shortened season.

It could consist of 10 rounds and finals, extending into October.

A number of VFL grounds does not host cricket and could be used as finals venues.

Planning is underway for a 2020 VFL season without reigning premier Richmond and other AFL teams.

Planning is underway for a 2020 VFL season without reigning premier Richmond and other AFL teams.

Under the eight-team proposal, Box Hill, Sandy and Casey would use only VFL-listed players.

 

 

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But Sandringham stalwart Galimberti said his club would be unable to take part unless the AFL was prepared to finance the season.

He said without crowds the clubs could not generate enough money to pay players and umpires or cover operational costs.

The Zebras are aligned with St Kilda, which told them in March that they would be withdrawing their players from the VFL this year.

“Unless the players agree to not receive payment, we couldn’t participate, because there would be no matching income to cover the expenditure,’’ Galimberti said.

“Our club would be against it (starting the season) unless the players agree to forego their payments or the AFL was prepared to pay for it. Because at the end of the day someone is going to have to pay for the cost of the players, the umpires, the security to keep spectators out … there would have to be money coming from somewhere to cover the fixed costs … and it’s not obvious where it’s going to come from.

“My view is we’re better off maintaining the suspended season and getting ready for 2021, putting everything in place for a viable season next year.

“But if the money was there, it would bring us back into the game. We’d like to see it get back and up and running provided the costs are covered. If the league came to the party, that would solve our major concern.’’

Sandy secretary Dennis Galimberti.

Sandy secretary Dennis Galimberti.

Sandringham stood down its entire staff in March after the AFL announced the VFL season would be delayed until after May 31.

Other clubs have kept skeleton staffs.

Port Melbourne CEO Paul Malcolm said it had been a difficult time for the Borough but members had sponsors had been “sticking tight’’.

“We certainly haven’t had any wanting to pull away,’’ he said.

“We’ve continued to sell memberships over the last couple of months.’’

Malcolm said Port Melbourne was planning a number of fundraising ventures in the next few months.

He said the club was eager for a season to start.

It was to kick off on Friday, April 3, with a clash between Collingwood and Box Hill Hawks.

The group of eight VFL clubs has been meeting regularly and is taking weekly guidance from the AFL’s head of state leagues Tristan Salter.

Some AFL clubs might still want to play in a rejigged VFL to get regular match practice leading into finals but Hawthorn has told its listed players they will not play for Box Hill at all in 2020.

Hawthorn chief executive Justin Reeves spoke of the AFL team taking a “short break” from its playing affiliation with the VFL team but maintaining a link it would resume in 2021.

Box Hill Hawks president Ed Sill said recently the club would play in the VFL in its own right in 2020.

If AFL clubs were not involved in this year’s VFL competition they would likely seek to play a series of formal practice matches against other AFL teams to keep their players match-ready.

The AFL approves a series of those matches during the VFL pre-season when the AFL season is already underway to ensure players not picked in the AFL team are ready for selection.

There is much speculation about the future of the VFL, with suggestions it could morph into a competition taking in teams from Queensland, Sydney and the ACT and being rebadged Eastern AFL.

billythekid

Well there you go I predicted this earlier today No reason for Sandy to play if its going send the club broke.

Robbo

Frankston have told their members that have they are happy to play as long as they break even

MegaA
MegaA's picture

Probably means no Frankston or Sandy if theirs no crowds which most likely will be the case. Frankston won't be able to break even without the boys on the terrace sinking their beers, no food sales, pre match function etc. Probably costs *and I'm only guessing here, i could be way off*  $8,000 per home game in wages ??? Plus licensing fee - who knows how much that is annually? Where they going to find the money to break even ? 

Past history says that AFL won't be interested in helping out financially. Most of us regular posters and dedicated supporters are holding onto a tiny bit of hope but unfortunately the writing is on the wall that this will be the first break in the competition since world war 2.

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paul

I think it will need a balance of players playing without payment (at least until some fans are allowed in) and the AFL covering a degree of costs. If those two things happen the season can be a goer, assuming COVID cases remain low.

Robbo

Frankston are keen to play 

just want to make sure they break even 

billythekid

I cant see the AFL puting their hand in their pocket to help out struggling VFA/VFL clubs.

Even better off clubs like Port and Willy will find it hard without the pokies money and match day cash flow..

paul

They won't put in extra, that's for sure, but if they put in their regular amount of funding and players play for nothing (at least until if/when some crowds are permitted) that could be enough to make a short season happen.