The Adelaide Football Club has tonight reported a cash operating loss of $411,675 for the 2020 financial year.

In what was an extremely challenging year both on and off the field, the Club’s financial position would have been far worse if not for the tremendous loyalty and support shown by Members and corporate and hospitality partners. 

The impact of COVID-19 saw total revenue fall 34 percent to $38.4m. The Club’s statutory loss was $2,843,520, after taking into consideration non-cash items, including depreciation.

Crows Chairman John Olsen spoke at the Annual Members Meeting and paid tribute to those who had backed the Club amidst the football industry’s greatest financial crisis. 

“Many people throughout our community confronted challenges and experienced hardship due to the pandemic in 2020,” Olsen said.

“The fact we were able to maintain our off-field strength and importantly, our financial independence is testament to the passion and commitment of our members who once again in a time of need showed why they are the backbone of our Club. 

“We are also very fortunate to have many loyal corporate partners, who in some cases were dealing with their own issues, but they were willing to be flexible and innovative in finding shared value and in the process strengthened our relationships.”

The Club also recognises the efforts of many hard-working staff who departed the organisation due to the necessary streamlining of our administration, as well as the football department restructure which was part of a League-wide requirement to reduce spending. 

“Like any organisation, we are only as good as the people who work tirelessly each day to make the Club the best it can be and I would like to acknowledge those who were impacted through no fault of their own and we wish them well,” Olsen said.

After starting 2020 free of debt, the Club finished the season with borrowings totalling $4,500,710.

“We are grateful for the assistance given by our official banking partner, Bendigo Bank, and the terms of the loan agreement reflect our strong and lengthy relationship,” Olsen said. 

“Their support, coupled with the leadership shown by the Board during the past year, means we are moving forward with certainty and we are in control of our own destiny.”

The Club is now well positioned to rebound from the effects of COVID-19, with an 18-month recovery plan in place.

“There is still a great deal of hard work to be done but we are determined to emerge from the pandemic in the best possible shape,” he said.

“We have identified a number of priorities and none is more important than strengthening our connection with Members and supporters, as well as the broader South Australian community.

“A key part of our plan is building a new elite training facility and administration headquarters where fans can congregate and while it is a complex project, we expect to have identified our preferred site by June.

“Importantly, we are continuing to make progress with our ambitious rebuild of the men’s playing list with a view to delivering the type of on-field success that every Crows fan wants and quite rightly demands.

“There is also now greater alignment with the women’s program and we are working hard to ensure our AFLW team continues to lead the way both on and off the field.”