Football Federation Australia (FFA) on Friday announced that 70% of its staff will be stood down as it scrambles to keep its head above water during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis gripping the globe.
The FFA employs roughly 230 staff, meaning that roughly 160 of its workers have now been stood down for a period of up to four months.
Those that remain will focus on the core aspects of the FFA’s day-to-day operations and communications with fans across the organisation’s digital platforms.
A “play at home challenge,” featuring skills challenges given by various Socceroos and Matildas for fans to take part in was launched earlier in the week, as was a Matildas' podcast featuring Hayley Raso as its first guest.
According to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald, no bonuses are set to be paid to staff during the COVID-19 downturn, although executive staff have not yet considered pay-cuts.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision to make, but necessary to stabilize the organisation so that it can continue to service the game, albeit in a vastly different landscape” Chief Executive James Johnson said of the decision.
“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 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.
“We have an incredible team here at FFA, and I am immensely proud of the work everyone does for football in this country.
Football Federation Australia today announced that it has made the regrettable decision to stand-down approximately 70 per cent of its staff due to the fallout from the #COVID19 pandemic. https://t.co/jCkuH7x3r4— Football Federation Australia (@FFA) March 27, 2020
“We have explored ways to retain as many staff as possible, including reducing essential roles to part-time, and asking staff to take annual leave and long service leave.
“Unfortunately, a number of staff members will have a period of leave without pay.”
“We will continue to operate with a small team, with a focus on continual engagement with fans through digital platforms, supporting our member federations, clubs and the almost two million football participants in this country.
“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.”
The FFA became the last sporting code in Australia – and almost in the world – to suspend play in the face of COVID-19 on Tuesday morning.
Having attempted to rally on with modified versions of the competition for as long as possible, various government measures designed to combat the spread of the virus made eventually made the logistics of staging even altered versions of the league impossible.
A review of that decision is set for April 22.
Grassroots football had been suspended by the FFA the week prior to the A-League’s halting, although no date as of yet has been earmarked as to when a possible resumption of those activities will be.
Football South Australia – which was the first Member Federation to suspend competitions under its jurisdiction in the face of the COVID-19 threat – is set to stand-down 80% of its staff according to reports from The Advertiser.
“We view this as a temporary stoppage of football,” Johnson said.
“We will be continually reviewing the situation and the impact of COVID-19 on grassroots football and the remainder of the 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.”