The Football Federation Australia (FFA), which established the A-League and currently runs its national team, has revealed that roughly 70 per-cent of its staff will ‘stand-down’ due to implications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
FFA’s chief executive James Johnson has stressed that the organisation has ‘explored ways to retain as many staff as possible’, with essential roles being reduced to part-time and some staff having to resort to annual leave, long service leave, and leave without pay.
These measures have been put in place to ‘stabilise the organisation so that it can continue to service the game’ with the federation suffering major financial losses due to the global postponement of footballing events.
Johnson explained: “Industries all over the world have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and football in Australia is no different.
“We are in a situation where grassroots football and the Hyundai A-League are currently suspended, we’ve had the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the deferral of the international football calendar, so virtually all football activity has now ceased for the foreseeable future because of COVID-19.
“These developments impact many forms of revenue for FFA, including national registration fees, broadcast fees, sponsorship, ticket sales and government funding, so we have needed to adjust our operations to ensure that we can remain operational, forcing us to take the unfortunate decision to stand down approximately 70% of our workforce.”
The federation, which also runs the country’s FFA Cup and all of the women’s, youth, Paralympic, beach and futsal national teams, will continue to run with a limited team by using social media to increase its fan engagement and support its clubs.
FFA will also attempt to stabilise the company by focusing on government relations, financial and legal matters, and communications as the coronavirus continues to spread across the nation.
Johnson added: “I also believe that football has a very important role to play as a good and responsible citizen during these difficult times so we are looking at how we can contribute to our collective efforts to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
“We view this as a temporary stoppage of football. We will be continually reviewing the situation and the impact of COVID-19 on grassroots football and the remainder of the Hyundai A-League season. We need a strong national governing body in place and a team ready and able to get back to work as soon as possible, as football will play an essential role in the recovery of our nation post COVID-19.”