Is Australian football financially well-placed to deal with the coronavirus crisis? Their reports may indicate cash flow for the game mightn't be quite as bad as feared. Meanwhile it's a code hopping partnership for the ages in The Mixer!
In a week that has seen the NRL request the federal government for $200million to fight the coronavirus crisis, football will continue behind closed doors.
But not a word has been heard from Football Federation Australia about parachute payments or federal funding, and new CEO James Johnson appeared calm when questioned about cash earlier in the week.
Can the FFA handle the financial hit from COVID-19? Their financial records show the coffers may be just a bit deeper than suspected to deal with the crisis.
Although the most recent annual report only showed a surplus of less than $500,000, the governing body could still have millions stashed away.
According to the FFA's 2019 Financial Report their cash in hand increased to $29 million from $6 million the year before, with the new licence fees from Western United and Macarthur FC likely contributing most of that.
In that time some of those funds may have been used elsewhere, but at least $17 million - filed under Licence Fees and "Non-current contract liabilities" - appears like it could still be available to the FFA. That accounts heading totalled $0 the year before.
It's suspected it was cash written off in advance to cover increased future costs for other operations in the game such as extra travel expenses or TV grant money distributions from the addition of the new clubs, or perhaps even as seed capital for the new breakaway league organisation.
The FFA were understandably too busy coping with the coronavirus crisis and rescheduling to answer questions on the subject this week.
The A-League season will continue in a fast-tracked fixture format which will see all teams rush to finish the season rapidly with all matches to be played on the east coast behind closed doors.
The league is reportedly under pressure from Fox Sports Australia to run its course - and if they don't, stakeholders fear Fox may use it as a reason to pull out of their current $60m a year TV deal before it expires in 2023.
In a situation that is changing by the hour, The Mixer understands the intense schedule could see ANZ, WIN and Campbelltown stadiums feature in the newly revised fixture list as well as Leichhardt Oval.
Despite NPL football in New South Wales being postponed, work continues behind the scenes for clubs vying for a spot in the National Second Division.
Sydney Olympic - the club that shaped the futures of Aussie stars like Brett Emerton, Jason Culina, Tim Cahill and Ned Zelic - have developed a partnership with NRL club Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs.
In a boost to their second division aspirations the former NSL club is in their first year of a formal partnership with the eight-time Australian Rugby Champions. The club plays its home matches in their heartland at Belmore Sports Ground.
"It's the first year of a formal partnership, our relationship has improved year on year and we get a lot of support," Olympic CEO John Boulous told The Mixer.
"This year Canterbury Leagues Club have come on as a major partner of the club with a view to supporting us in any opportunity we are able to provide into the next level of football.
"Our relationship with the Bulldogs at Belmore Sports Ground has never been better.
"We are now getting increased opportunities to use their facilities which is excellent for our players. That's from training sessions on Belmore, it's use of their facilities, use of their video rooms and recovery facilities.
"It's providing an extra level for players. We understand our players are semi-professional, we know they work, if we can provide additional support it would make Sydney Olympic a club of choice."
A partnership with a club from a rival code is rare in football.
But Sydney FC this season embraced growing competition from the NBL by joining forces with local basketball juggernauts Sydney Kings and invited fans to enjoy both sports in a special promotion.
The NRL club's interest in the aspirations of Sydney Olympic as a second division team adds runs on the board for Olympic as a potential professional outfit.
"The catalyst for the partnership evolving more might be us moving into a second division, that's something our partners would be interested in," said Boulous.
"It opens up a lot of opportunities with the Bulldogs in terms of what support we are able to develop. The Bulldogs are in the game of having professional teams and players all year round."
The CEO says they are ready to submit an expression of interest to the FFA "...as soon as the opportunity becomes available" but considering the current climate the FFA and the sport finds itself in, the call for a second division may have to wait for some time.
TEN YEARS AS A TIGER
Very few players spend a decade at one club, but for Northern Tigers players Josie Wilson and Emma Watkins it's been ten years of the best in NPL NSW.
Both in their early 20s, Wilson and Watkins have been at the club since before they were teenagers.
Together they helped the Tigers reach the NSW NPLW Grand Final last season, unfortunately falling at the final hurdle against Sydney University.
They are prepared for their good form to continue this season when football resumes at this stage in mid-April.
The A-League isn't the only football league to be continuing under the circumstances of a global pandemic.
Aussies in Singapore, Zac Anderson, Andy Pengelly and Oliver Puflett are still in action.
Cases of the virus rose sharply overnight in Turkey as they announced their first fatality, but Aziz Behich's Basaksehir will continue to fight for the Super Lig title, currently level on points with Trabzonspor in first place.