Former St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt believes it's time for a drastic change of how clubs are ran following the league shutdown from the coronavirus pandemic.

Riewoldt thinks the AFL should look at private ownership among AFL clubs, a system that works in majors American sports in a bid to keep all 18 clubs stable during the suspension of the league.

The financial crisis has already hit multiple clubs as they've been forced to cut roughly 80 per cent of staff. Football departments have been stood down during this period.

Riewoldt believes having private ownership could save some clubs, such as North Melbourne, St Kilda and Gold Coast.

“It would be a dramatic shift," he said on Fox Footy Live.

"Depending on how dire it gets – when you hear the AFL is looking at mortgaging Marvel as collateral to get a loan from the government – I think they could and should look at measures like private ownership."

“You get some of these high net wealth individuals who might be able to come in and not just as a donation where they hand over money to the club, but as a vested commercial interest in the club for a period to be able to drag clubs off their knees. And then derive some sort of commercial benefit out of it themselves.”

“We know footy clubs find it very difficult to turn profits sometimes themselves.

“Who knows, if it gets desperate enough, I think the models of football clubs and the way they are structured… We know the members have been the lifeblood of football clubs. But they are out there struggling just as badly as anyone.

“So are we going to have the same level of membership? Sure there will be that emotional attachment but some people may or may not be able to commit to clubs the way they have been able to in the past.”