By Courtney Santospirito
Geelong region football and netball clubs could each lose about $60,000 as AFL Barwon suspends the 2020 season until May 31. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, nine home-and-away games will be lost in the Colac District Football Netball League, which was set to start playing on March 28.
Simpson Football Netball Club president Brad Smith believes Simpson is in a “very lucky” financial position compared to some clubs, but will still struggle.
“We’re not making money, but we’re not losing any either,” he said.
In last year’s home and away season, the Simpson Club made about $120,300 from regular gate, bar, and canteen revenue. This figure does not include home game functions, where the bar could make between $2000 and 3000. With the shortened season, Simpson is now set to lose about $60,150, and it could be more, according to Smith.
“Well it is going to be a bit rude of us to ask for our full sponsorship money, our membership money, given we are only providing three quarters or half a season,” he said.
The club was looking to improve its netball facilities next season, with a potential $30,000 upgrade, but that will have to be put off unless, Smith said, “a new big industry sponsor throws some money around”.
In a statement, AFL Barwon said: “While a revised date has been set, the situation is fluid and this could be adjusted as we learn and understand more over coming weeks.”
“AFL Barwon is currently working through fair and reputable revised fixtures to cater for a shorter season which will be released in due course.”
The mood is a “bit dull” at Simpson, according to Smith.
“We’re probably in the spot where we have had the best preseason that we have had in quite a few years,” he said. “This has been a fair kick in the pants now.”
Simpson small forward Matty Drayton is “absolutely devastated” the season isn’t going ahead as normal.
“Life is more important than football, but football is a lot of people’s lives,” he said. “I honestly nearly cried when I read the news.”
Local resident Jason Davis goes to two football matches a month. He understands why the season has been suspended.
“You got to protect your community,” he said. “If things stay the way they are (with the spread of COVID-19), I would like to see it cancelled for the season.”