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Post by Lee Harradine on Thu Mar 19, 2020 11:33 am

I hope you are well and looking after yourself in this trying time.

I wanted to provide an update on the Club’s response to the current COVID-19 situation. This is an unprecedented situation which has produced plenty of new challenges for us all.

Earlier this week SANFL confirmed the 2020 season will be postponed until at least May 31. This includes the SANFL Men’s and Under 18s competitions and the SANFLW season which was already underway. SANFL have cancelled the Under 16 competition that was only two rounds in. Our players will not be training until we have more information about how to proceed.
We understand your disappointment, our players and staff are devastated about the impact this situation is having on everyone involved. More than anything, we believe it is important that we follow the best advice available to us and play our part in a community response to stop the spread of this virus.

What we are doing at the moment;
• Our football department are meeting regularly to plan and advise players of the latest information available
• We are working through the many football and financial issues that this situation has brought about
• Reviewing operations of the licensed club and all areas of our business to limit our costs

As I am sure you can understand, many questions may be difficult to answer in such a fast moving environment so we ask for your patience as we understand everything ourselves.

We will be looking at ways to connect our members with our football club in new and exciting ways. We hope to have a range of member exclusive content which will be available to help keep you up to date with Westies while there is no footy to come and watch.

We ask for your continued support of the club and our corporate partners, many of which have shown their unwavering support of West Adelaide during this time.

We want to thank our members – you have always stuck with us. It has proved to be a difficult few years on the field but what has lasted is the bond between our players and members. This is critical to our club in the future. I can assure you that as this situation changes, we are considering our members and partners with every new development.

We have been humbled by some of the immediate responses from those fans who have contacted the Club in the last few days and as joined as members. We need your support now more than we ever have.

On behalf of everyone at the Club, including all players and staff, please look after yourself and those around you. We look forward to having you back at Hisense Stadium cheering on the mighty Bloods again soon.

Ben
Chief Executive Officer
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Post by aldo russian on Thu Mar 19, 2020 1:25 pm

Really good communication from Ben, and a good point about finding ways for us to stay connected to the club.
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Post by brodlach on Mon Mar 23, 2020 12:14 pm

I imagine the who club is now closed?
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Post by aldo russian on Mon Mar 23, 2020 1:54 pm

Would the club qualify for the government's business assistance package which pays up to $100,000 to retain staff?
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Post by Lee Harradine on Mon Mar 23, 2020 3:06 pm

I would think so, but it's not clear, as businesses that aren't operating don't qualify.

However, I think we would qualify for the March quarter Activity Statement automatically.

Just a quick guess.

As we are closed now, I wonder which staff are still employed for the next few months?
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Post by Lee Harradine on Wed Mar 25, 2020 11:02 am

Reading about the SANFL's financial difficulties, it wouild seem that clubs won't have much, if any, income. Presumably no pokies, no bar or bistro, probably no SANFL monthly distribution (major income), no match day gate or catering.

All that's left is membership and sponsorship and a few minor things.

The club is doing the right thing shutting down, but cash flow will become extremely difficult. Hopefully it doesn't threaten our existence if it goes on for too long, but all clubs will be hit.

We are probably looking at a totally new situation soon.

One thing we cn do, if it comes to it, is for the club to use volunteer services to carry out whatever it can for as long as needed.

I'm sure we'll hear more when the club has worked out what needs to be done, if anything can be done. There are so many problems they will be working through right now.
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Post by TAAARS on Thu Mar 26, 2020 11:27 am

I am probably naive here but I assume the main problem all clubs including amateur clubs have is servicing there debt (loans,rates, and utility bills etc).
I find it hard to see the creditors foreclosing on all the clubs for many months yet. Afterall what would they do with all these club rooms? Who would want them in the near term? Imagine the bad press a bank would get with "x bank moves on xx clubs for outstanding loans etc" They would be far better off allowing an interest/repayment holiday for a few months and reap the credit. With interest rates so low it will hardly hurt them.
Time for the SANFL to stand up and be counted. The noise so far has been deafening.
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Post by Lee Harradine on Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:05 pm

Yes, the problem will be cash flow for some time and you are spot on, TAAARS.

If clubs survive (and the SANFL will have its own problems, so I wouldn't be relying on them), it will be with much reduced staff and minimal recruiting for at least a year or two. I suspect the salary cap will be slashed for the future.

As I said, we should all be ready to volunteer in any way if we come under threat.
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Post by TAAARS on Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:06 pm

Just great isn't it? The SANFL interferes with a clubs constitution to get there own way,then if and when it all turns to sh*t, it's.... sorry don't expect help from us.
Also it will be interesting if we need to call for donations to survive. Many members have been put off by those changes and the lack of transparency. Will they now put their hand in their pockets?
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Post by Oldfella on Thu Mar 26, 2020 3:58 pm

I make no claims to fully understand business finance and leave that to Lee & others more qualified. Having said that I would like to throw out a few comments and get feedback.

Firstly, it is my understanding that under normal circumstances it cost between $4 - $4.5 million per year to run the club. Given we have basically shut every or most expenditure down with approximately 6 months of the clubs financial year left then I would expect this expenditure figure ($4 - $4.5 million) to be significantly reduced --- how much I would not have a clue?

Obviously, on top of existing debt (at day of closure) in the next 6 months we will have additional some expenditure such as minimal staff wages, servicing existing debts and other unspecified expenditure. This needs to be balanced out against gains from closure for example a much reduced electricity bill and thanks to our Solar Panel project in fact maybe gaining a revenue stream from electricity we are placing back into the grid.

Probably what I am saying is that whilst the future is obviously difficult I do not believe it is such to create a self fulfilling prophesy that "The Club Is Doomed" ----- yes it is critical that all our sponsor stay on board and similarly all Members give the club what ever assistance we can.

Until this entire scenario plays out (next 3 months) and they know the full aspects of the clubs predicted End of Financial Year debt and the extent of any Government assistance, Council assistance, Sponsors and Members support I believe it would be impossible at this time for the President or CEO to make any public predictions of the end of Financial Year profit/loss --- even at that time (say 3 months) it would be a guess given that the situation is constantly changing.

I believe the club is in good hands and once the full picture is in place then the President or CEO will advise the Members and at that time we can seriously view the Clubs future.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Life long passionate supporter
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Post by TAAARS on Thu Mar 26, 2020 4:27 pm

Don't think anyone is saying the club is "Doomed" Old fella. Even if we get into dire straights it will only be "Doomed" if we the member allow it to.
Interesting times ahead. Maybe the time may come to ask all members and supporters to donate in a % of their weekly wage? For a pensioner that might be $30. For someone with an average job $100 and so forth.
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Post by Oldfella on Fri Mar 27, 2020 3:14 pm

Latest from CEO

To our members and supporters,

From Monday (23/3/2020) the licenced premises has been closed in accordance with the Government imposed restrictions. In conjunction with the announcement last week that no football would be played until at least May 31, we have faced another week of rapid change and challenge. We have made the incredibly difficult decision to stand down the staff in the licenced club and our football department. They are all valued members of our Westies family and we hope to be in a position in the future to bring them back when things to return to some sort of normality.

The Club will continue to monitor the relief packages that are being announced by various levels of government to ensure we can capitalise on any benefits available to us. Already, there have been announcements that will assist in the coming months. We are also in close communication with all other SANFL clubs and the league about how we best approach the situation in a united fashion. All are committed to getting through the tough times we’re facing and recovering together.

Thanks you to those members who have reached out to offer support. Anybody wishing to make a tax deductible donation to support the football club is welcome to do so here, your support will go directly to keeping the pack running. It continues to be a challenge for us but we expect to get through it and see Westies back out there in the future.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Life long passionate supporter
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Post by Oldfella on Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:18 pm

Great new initiative by the Club

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Post by aldo russian on Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:16 pm

This is a link to the club's tax-deductible donation page. I urge anyone who is in a position to donate to do so. It's too important not to.

https://asf.org.au/projects/west-adelaide-football-club/keep-the-pack-running/
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Post by Thiele on Mon Mar 30, 2020 4:57 pm

Just donated $50

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2015 PREMIERS. GO BLOODS
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Post by aldo russian on Tue Mar 31, 2020 11:14 am

I hope we can access the new JobKeeper scheme for some of our staff.
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Post by Mypaspective on Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:00 pm

Can’t see why not for all those who qualify Aldo.

This will certainly help a great deal. Very generous package in my view & well done to the Govt for their efforts in these troubled times with no rule book.
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Post by Lachlan on Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:04 pm

I think what the Govt is doing is fantastic and I would like to think the club can access those funds.
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Post by Mypaspective on Tue Mar 31, 2020 12:50 pm

Don’t worry mate Ben & Murray will be all over it. They are really switched on & will take any help they can get.
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Post by Oldfella on Thu Apr 02, 2020 11:54 am

President’s Message to Members and Supporters – April 2020

Well, it’s incredible to think back just a few weeks ago to when we were anticipating the start of the 2020 season, and to ponder how quickly things have changed since the COVID-19 disaster first struck. It was difficult enough to digest the idea that footy wouldn’t be played for the foreseeable future, but when we were forced to close the venue things really hit us hard.

With the prospect of absolutely no income for several months, the immediate focus of the club has been to strip costs out of the operations and to retain as much cash as possible. Some outgoings simply don’t go away overnight. Fixed costs like rates and taxes, light and power, rentals and so on still need to be paid. So difficult decisions have had to be made.

The hardest decision was to ensure that we cut wages and salaries. Where possible, we asked staff to take annual leave. But most were stood down, which has been the path of action taken by SANFL and the individual clubs themselves. This has resulted in a period of real stress for all concerned.

However, it’s important to understand that those staff who have been stood down are still employees of the club. They do not lose their leave entitlements, and they will be resuming their normal duties as soon as the all clear is given for the club to re-open. In the meantime, the Federal Government is providing enormous levels of funding to assist people who have been stood down as they await a return to work. I want to say a huge “thank-you” to all staff who have been so understanding of what has happened, and who have expressed their unwavering support for the club. I also want to thank our players. This week Derek Bonner, our Football Director, had a conversation with our captain Tom Keough about how he and the senior playing group are holding up under the current COVID-19 restrictions. Tom said whilst they were frustrated about not being able to play, the group were all healthy and keeping active. Head of fitness, Todd Carr has given the players a conditioning program to maintain their fitness levels during the break and the senior leadership group are in regular contact with all the players to make sure they are safe and well.

Our job now is to ensure that Westies survives this enormous challenge. Our financial position was getting stronger every day before the club shut down, and it’s distressing to see those gains now being worn away. However, in my role as League Director I see the efforts that SANFL are making to secure the financial future of all clubs. The SANFL, of course, have their own challenges. They are facing those challenges with not just their own organisation in mind but with the interests of the clubs as well. As they plan their approach to external funding bodies for extra loan facilities, SANFL are fighting for our combined futures.

Nobody knows for how long Westies will be inoperative. But I can assure you that the Board of Directors is not sitting idle. We are, along with our CEO, continuing to uncover and explore more ways of keeping the club alive. The energy and dedication on display at the Board meeting held by video hook-up on Monday 30th March was an inspiration. The CEO and each member of the Board is playing their part to ensure we survive this difficult period. Even though the club is in a state of hibernation, we intend emerging stronger and more resilient than ever.

Every member, past and present, has a role to play in this. The club needs you now. I want to thank each one of you who has renewed your membership for 2020. But renewals are behind where they were at the same point last year. I understand why some people are thinking that there is no purpose in renewing, but we need your support. Please stay on board. And any readers of this who may have let their membership lapse over the past few years, now is the time to get back on board. We need a strong member base, bigger than ever before, to get us through. And if you can, please ensure you give generously to our “Keep the Pack Running” fundraising campaign by going to: https://asf.org.au/projects/west-adelaide-football-club/keep-the-pack-running/ and making a donation.

When we come out the other side of this threat to the club, I am supremely confident that we will be fighting fit and ready to go. We need to stay together and make sure we’re around to celebrate the future of our great club.

Go Bloods.

Murray Forbes

President

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Post by Mypaspective on Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:35 pm

Well done Murray, Ben & the board.

Best of luck with your initiatives.
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Post by Oldfella on Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:43 pm

Mypaspective wrote:Well done Murray, Ben & the board.

Best of luck with your initiatives.

Agreed

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Post by bundy on Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:17 pm

Just sent an email to Murray expressing my support.
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Post by Mypaspective on Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:20 pm

Well done Bundy. Keep beating that drum.
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Post by Lee Harradine on Thu Apr 02, 2020 2:50 pm

I join all of us urging everyone to support the club at such a difficult time.

It is a bit worrying that membership was down before this virus, so I hope everyone who hasn't renewed will do so.6
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