Gillon McLachlan’s executive team is back on full pay, but the boss takes another cut
Gillon McLachlan’s executive team is back on full pay, but the boss takes another cut

Gill takes another hit as footy battles back from COVID

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has taken another pay cut for season 2021 but his team of executives has returned to full wages.

A league spokesman said McLachlan had again sacrificed a portion of his salary because of the industry's COVID cutbacks.

But the size of his pay packet is no longer publicly disclosed.

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While clubs have copped a 38 per cent cut to their football department budgets this year - and the game's 800 players have accepted salary reductions of up to 9 per cent - the league confirmed McLachlan's seven most senior deputies had returned to pre-COVID pay.

The AFL executive team, which was paid an average wage of $880,000 in 2019, took pay cuts of at least 20 per cent last year.


Hundreds of jobs across the industry have been lost as part of a severe cost-cutting campaign.

Asked to confirm whether AFL executives were back on full pay, a league spokesman said: "In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AFL reduced its operating costs by around 30 per cent, including the restructuring of AFL operations and the national organisation.

"This restructure saw approximately 25 per cent of jobs cut and a reduction in the number of AFL executives. AFL staff, including the executive, took significant pay cuts during 2020 and CEO Gillon McLachlan has again taken a pay cut in 2021."

He declined to divulge the extent of McLachlan's new pay cut.

Long-serving league executive Darren Birch left the organisation late last year as part of the head office restructure, while fellow executive Ray Gunston shifted to an advisory role.

The AFL has since hired a new chief financial officer reporting to Travis Auld, a commercial deputy reporting to Kylie Rogers and a new head of IT reporting to Walter Lee.

Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett said he was not opposed to the executive team returning to full pay.

"Like the players, they all took substantial cuts and got us through the year without any bonuses, obviously," Kennett said.

"They are now back in operation, with much fewer staff, and I suppose and suspect that means they are all working harder.

"The challenges this year, as we are now seeing in Queensland, look as though they are going to be just as great, so I'm not opposed to them going back to full salaries."

Kennett said Hawthorn had reduced its own workforce by 30 per cent but authorised that its remaining staff return to pre-COVID salaries.

Asked why players such as Dustin Martin should accept a pay cut but league executives should not, Kennett said: "In my view, it works because the AFL executives are doing the job of many more with less.

"Whereas we haven't reduced the number of players by 35 per cent, what we've done is they (the players) have had to bear a small cut in order that we can keep all of the players employed, in order that we can have 18 teams and in order that we can attract the media rights and sponsorships generally."

Originally published as Gill takes another hit as footy battles back from COVID