Collingwood President Eddie McGuire sent shockwaves through the AFL community on Tuesday after candidly speaking about the future of the game after the suspension of the code on Sunday.
On Monday, McGuire claimed the game would "never be the same again" as it entered a shutdown period aimed at minimising the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Players have offered to take a 50 per cent pay cut while clubs are out of action, with the competition on hold until at least May 31.
However, it is believed the AFL is not satisfied with that figure, with News Corp reporting the league will push for a 75 per cent cut in the coming months as the league faces the biggest financial crisis in its history.
But McGuire offered a more sobering reality on Tuesday speaking to Triple M Melbourne’s Hot Breakfast about looking after the players who were the “centrepiece of our game”.
“The situation is that the players have received money for this half of the year already, because that was fair enough, everyone’s getting paid,” McGuire said.
'CAN GET SOMEONE KILLED’: Disbelief over AFL players' 'dumb' act amid crisis
"It’s the next part of the journey that we have to get through until we actually start playing games again and we can get some money coming in.
"The Channel 7 money, the Foxtel money, stopped this week. It’s finished, it’s all over.
"There’s no gate receipts, the AFL is cutting through its costs, all the clubs are cutting through their costs, and we have to come to an elegant situation here … if there’s no money, there’s no money.
"We need to not screw the players at the same time. These are the centrepiece of our game, they’re wonderful people, they’re great young men, and we have to do the right thing."
Players would likely have to take even bigger wage cuts if the remainder of the 2020 season was abandoned altogether, which remains a distinct possibility in uncertain times.
The AFL and its 18 clubs have had to slash staff numbers by roughly 80 per cent in a brutal phase of job cuts.
AFL executives, including chief executive Gillon McLachlan, are taking a minimum 20 per cent pay cut.
Disbelief over AFL players' 'dumb' act amid crisis
Leading AFL journo Craig Hutchison has delivered a withering rebuke for two North Melbourne players who threw a party in the face of strict social-distancing measures.
Housemates Nick Larkey and Cameron Zurhaar, both 21, were the hosts of a gathering in Kensington on Sunday night, hours after playing in the Kangaroos' win over St Kilda at Marvel Stadium.
Patricia Ky, an anaesthetist at Royal Melbourne Hospital, told the ABC she approached the boys and asked them to stop the party.
“We all work together so if one of us has it, we all have it,” she claims was the response.
"I spoke to them early in the evening and asked them to keep in mind social distancing, they failed to heed that advice and this morning when I came home from work they were still out, wandering in and out of the house.
"They're feeling young and invincible and that they're willing to risk asymptomatically infecting themselves in order to not suffer any inconvenience to their social lives and they're completely disregarding the risk they pose to others as they all leave that house.”