The prospect of further job cuts is causing the most anxiety in AFL clubs, according to Collingwood midfielder Taylor Adams.
As Adams and his fellow AFL players prepare to return to action from Thursday, he says the grim outlook for many club staffers is a chief concern.
All AFL clubs stood down staff during the competition’s suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic.
AFL headquarters will soon detail a need for more permanent cost cuts with reports the soft salary cap, which covers football department spending, will be slashed by $3 million to about $6.4m next season.
“Obviously the job cuts has been the big one that everyone is talking about,” Adams told ABC radio on Sunday.
“And that’s probably the one (issue) that brings the most anxiety to people inside the industry, including players.
“Walking in that first day back after the 10 weeks off and seeing how many staff weren’t at the football club was eye opening and a bit of smack in the face.
“It made you realise how lucky and privileged we are to be doing what we’re doing.
“And it was really sad.
“It was a bit of a sombre week, that first week, because we were really excited as players … but realistically there was 150 people that didn’t have jobs.”
Players could also be asked to take pay cuts from next season but Adams said league hierarchy must first detail the reasons why.
AFL players took a 50 per cent wage cut for two months during the competition shutdown.
Adams said he required more information before he could be comfortable commenting on suggested player salary reductions.
“For us to take further pay cuts, there would have to be some evidence suggesting that it’s necessary,” he said.
“We understand that the industry has taken a massive hit, we get that.
“We have taken a pay cut but from this point on I feel like it just needs to be reviewed.
“For me to answer that question now would be ill-informed and I’d be guessing at what sort of percentage or whatever.
“It would be nice if we didn’t have to but I’m realistic.
“Most people that have been inside the industry have taken some sort of hair cut, so we’re in it together.”