MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 27: Gold Coast Suns recruiting staff are seen during the 2019 NAB AFL Mid-Season Rookie Draft at AFL House on May 27, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

AFL clubs football departments are facing the likelihood of being shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

With the AFL postponing the 2020 season, football departments have become non-essential and with cost cutting a priority for all clubs and businesses around the country the departments are set to be shut down.

The Herald Sun’s Jon Ralph is reporting that as many as 80 per cent of AFL staff will be forced to stand down for several months and unsure if they will have jobs upon the resumption of the AFL season.

It has been reported today that Brisbane had stood their players down without pay, however, the Lions have strongly refuted those reports.

Player managers have accepted that pay cuts are necessary given players have been paid for five months of their 12 month salary but the AFL Players Association is yet to finalise a deal with the AFL on what those cuts will look like and how players are paid for the remainder of the year.

It is believed Hawthorn players are in a similar situation, as Hawk players believe their contracts will be without pay for at least the next two months.

Multiple clubs have told their staff they will not be paid, with Gold Coast leading the way by altering their staff and shutting down the football department.

Richmond and the Western Bulldogs believe they will not need to let staff go as they’re in seriously strong financial positions.

With players on a month’s leave at minimum, many AFL assistants and staff have zero work available until games resume. Most staff take their leave periods in the off-season and therefore have no substantial leave entitlements in place apart from some staff with long-service leave.

The AFL football department soft cap will be cut by $3 million from $9.7m to $6.7m. This means many jobs will be lost at every club.

Brisbane have also shut down their footy department with chief executive Greg Swann saying these measures are necessary for clubs to stay afloat.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us to ensure the club’s financial stability and there will need to be some really tough decisions made but we’re committed to ensuring the club still exists in six months time, in a year’s time and in 50 years time,” he said.

“We will be encouraging our people to take this time to relax, to reset, and to reprioritise the things that are important.”