SANFL has announced its Financial Results for 2020, demonstrating the League’s ongoing commitment to sound financial governance, which has ensured it withstood the significant impacts of COVID-19.
As a 50% joint venture shareholder in Adelaide Oval, SANFL receives a significant portion of its revenues from stadium events, which were heavily impacted in 2020 due to the pandemic. After paying its share of operating costs to keep the venue open for fewer events and reduced capacity crowds, SANFL’s stadium returns after expenses were more than $8 million below budget.
The reduced returns from Adelaide Oval were the main contributor to SANFL recording a cash earnings loss of $2.92 million, an increase of $1.41 million on the year prior.
In order for SANFL to limit its cash loss to less than $3 million, the organisation implemented significant cost reduction measures across its business. This included standing down or making redundant approximately 80% of staff for much of the year, with those staff retained taking a 20% salary reduction.
SANFL also had to reduce distributions paid to State League Clubs by $2.7m and increase its borrowings to $3.74 million, which represents a rise of $941,000 on the prior year.
In announcing the League’s Financial Results at tonight’s AGM, SA Football Commission Chairman Rob Kerin said although it has been a challenging year for football, SANFL has been able to weather the storm thanks to the position of financial stability that has been built over the past seven years.
SA Football Commission Chairman Rob Kerin
“Without this shared commitment to preserving the future of South Australian football, we might have been looking at a very different scenario.''
“Since the move Adelaide Oval in 2014 and subsequent sell-down of Football Park, SANFL has been steadily reducing its debt position and increasing its asset base to ensure the long-term viability of football in South Australia,” Mr Kerin said.
“Last year, SANFL recorded its lowest debt levels since 1992 and it has been this commitment to sound financial governance that has ensured we’ve been able to manage the impacts of COVID-19 and ensure we emerged out the other side.”
Mr Kerin said it was also important to acknowledge the significant human impact of the past 12 months, with many involved in South Australian football making significant sacrifices in the long-term interests of the game.
“As the organisation responsible for the governance of football at levels in SA, we had to make some incredibly difficult decisions to minimise the financial impacts of the pandemic,” he said.
“We acknowledge the sacrifices made by SANFL employees and clubs who were impacted by cost reduction measures, and the players, coaches and umpires who agreed to forego pay, following the COVID-imposed State League shutdown.
“Without this shared commitment to preserving the future of South Australian football, we might have been looking at a very different scenario.”
In 2020, SANFL also recorded a further increase in its net assets, rising $3.24 million to $99.17 million. This was primarily due to the value of the sub-lease of Oval Hotel, half of which is attributed to SANFL as a joint venture shareholder of AOSMA.
Looking ahead, the League is budgeting on a small cash earnings surplus in 2021, based on conservative estimates of Adelaide Oval revenues.
COVID attendance restrictions will continue, with Adelaide Oval ground capacity currently approved at 75%. In addition, AOSMA is unlikely to be able to operate its function and events business at full capacity nor be able to run international major events.
To manage the ongoing risks associated with COVID-19 and ensure the League’s ongoing financial stability, SANFL and its Clubs will continue to operate a lower structure in 2021