Regrettably, this has been one of the most difficult weeks in my time at the club.
Following the suspension of the 2020 season, all our players are now on leave and we move to navigate through this incredibly difficult period as a club.
The sheer nature of this global crisis has meant that due to circumstances beyond our control, our club, and the broader competition, is in an unprecedented situation.
In response to this significant challenge, we have moved to drastically cut operating costs to help the club get through this period.
As a result, the club made the heartbreaking decision this week to stand down more than 75 per cent of our staff, across every operational area of the club, until further notice.
A minimum number of staff will now work on severely reduced hours to ensure the club remains operational during the suspension period, which is due to run until at least May 31.
These extremely tough decisions were not taken lightly but were made to protect the club in the short term and the employment of our people for the long term.
As you are aware, this situation continues to change at a rapid pace, and it is an incredibly complex matter – not just for our club and industry, but the community more broadly.
There are so many challenges. For you, our members, in your own lives. And for us, the club, as we work our way through this dire position.The club generates most of its operating revenue from our commercial partners, members, corporate partners, and fans attending games.
By addressing our expenditure immediately, we hope to minimise the future impact of this crisis and be able to quickly bounce back as a club when games recommence.
For our members, we understand there are still many questions we have not been able to answer, but until we have certainty on the season, we ask for your patience and understanding. The scheduled member payment plans will continue for the time being, with member reconciliation to be reviewed when we have full visibility of the season and fixture.
As a club, we fully respect everyone’s personal circumstances are different, and we will continue to work through scenarios and frameworks for dealing with the impact of this issue on our members.
We are hurting, but we know these hardships are widespread. It’s much bigger than us.
So please know the Essendon family is hurting together and we will get through this together.
These are unchartered waters and there is much uncertainty across our community.
I am proud of all our people, our staff, for the way they are navigating this complex and challenging issue for the club. And, although there are still many significant challenges ahead, I know these people will continue to go above and beyond to ensure our future.
I know you all love this football club. l love it as well, I always have. We will get through this. The game of Australian Football is unique. Football clubs are unique. We are our own version of a family. And we will get through this together.
It has never been more important to look after one another than now. Please continue to follow all advice from the relevant medical and health authorities as well as the advice from the Australian Government.
Take care of your loved ones and look after yourselves as we continue to stop the spread of this virus.
Once again, on behalf of everyone at the Essendon Football Club, we thank our loyal members and supporters for their unwavering support during these uncertain times.