AFL clubs should give refunds to members facing financial troubles because of the coronavirus pandemic, the league’s chief executive Gillon McLachlan says.
He says club members are entitled to ask for refunds but says they’re the backbone of the league’s 18 clubs.
“Of course, if they need it, they can (get refunds),” McLachlan told ABC radio.
“But, yes, we would love them to stay because our industry is in a battle and our clubs are in a battle to get through and the membership is their lifeblood.
“All I would say is I understand the pain going on out there and people need to make their own decisions and clearly if they want it (a refund), they can.
“But I know our members understand how big their contribution of membership is to their clubs.”
Western Bulldogs have already refunded some memberships.
But the Dogs’ chief executive Ameet Bains said the financial pain of clubs would worsen should there be a flood of refund requests from members.
“It would be a significant body blow for clubs and potentially fatal for a number of clubs as well,” Bains told SEN radio.
“The question of hardships is a different one and I think everyone is sympathetic about that … we continue to work with anyone who is affected in that way.
“From our own experience, those individuals that have approached us with hardships or concerns, we’ve been happy to accommodate.”
Despite the AFL season being suspended until at least May 31, some clubs, including the Bulldogs, have reported new members signing on.
But all clubs were understood to have continued with membership payment plans.