Geelong CEO Brian Cook has spoken publicly for the first time since the AFL season was postponed on Sunday afternoon.
Speaking to K-Rock last night, Cook admitted it’s been an unbelievably tough week, and the biggest challenge he’s faced at the club.
“This is industry wide. An unprecedented challenge for the world and community. It’s quite overwhelming.
“The outcomes and the effects of the Coronavirus will be felt for many years from a financial point of view,” Cook said.
?This past week has been the most challenging in our club’s history.?— Geelong Cats (@GeelongCats) March 25, 2020
Brian Cook and Colin Carter have provided a club update.
Over the past three days, Cook and his executive leadership team have made the difficult decision to stand down over 100 club staff.
“To see the staff stood down that have worked tirelessly for us over a long period of time, it’s quite emotional for everyone.
“Over the last three days we have stood down around 100 people out of our 135 staff. It’s meant that we have kept on in a part time capacity 35, somewhere between one day a week and four days a week.
“We are calling those staff at the moment our ‘mission critical’ staff in stage one.
“It was difficult trying to determine who those 35 would be, it was even more difficult determining the 100 people that we needed to stand down.”
As the club heads into its most challenging time in 162 years, Cook openly shared his views on the potential changes ahead for the AFL industry.
“I think the AFL will study its overall national structure and de-finance it a bit, in terms of cost.
“I think lists will probably reduce. I think each state will have an elite domestic competition - a bit different to what they have at the moment.
“But I don’t see AFL clubs running VFL clubs in three or four years time.”
And while Cook has a mountain of work to do in pulling the club through, he was positive the club will survive this crisis.
“I think the club will survive,” he said.
“Will it come back in the same shape, same structure, same size? I doubt it very much. I think it will take some seasons for that to happen, it is ever does happen in my life again.”