Women’s football pioneer Susan Alberti is adamant the AFL has put too much work into AFLW to allow the competition to fall victim to the financial meltdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The fourth season of the competition was abruptly halted last month after the first week of finals due to the COVID-19 shutdown, with no premier named.
The AFLW season ended abruptly and early, with no premier.Credit:Getty Images
The AFL and its clubs slashed budgets and will continue to do so into the future, to help soften the blow of a revenue hit that could reach $1 billion, giving rise to concerns the AFLW could be vulnerable.
But Alberti, a former Western Bulldogs vice-president and highly respected trailblazer for women in sport, is confident AFL chief Gillon McLachlan will deliver on his promise to stick with the national women’s league.
“The AFL are absolutely committed to the AFLW … it’s been a long time in the planning, it’s here now, and it’s not going away,” Alberti told SEN radio on Tuesday.
“It was quite sad how [the season] ended, that’s unfortunate, but they’ll come back bigger, stronger and better next year.
“The growth that I have seen in the game in the last few years has been remarkable.
“We’ve got around 600,000 young women playing our game now and it’s not going away, it’s just going to get bigger and bigger.
“It just takes time.”
The AFL has secured a line of credit that McLachlan is confident will ensure the survival of the 18 men’s teams and the 14 women’s sides.
The league and its clubs have stood down about 80 per cent of staff without pay until at least May 31 in a bid to ride out the financial storm.
Alberti, a key figure in the Bulldogs’ AFL fight for survival in 1996, says it’s wrong to highlight the women’s game as a potential cost saving.
Source: Read Full Article