I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on what is happening at your Football Club.
It is important that you understand everything that we are doing at the Club because you along with all our staff and players, our owner (Parramatta Leagues Club), our sponsors and our partners are the most important stakeholders in our Club.
I don’t need to explain to you that the COVID-19 virus has had a significant impact on the game of rugby league. You have already experienced a similar impact in your daily lives, on your family and friends and in your broader community including your employment.
During the last few weeks, a lot of the public commentary around the game has been centred on examining past decisions and history. This is a natural response but as some of our fellow Clubs have stated, the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus has been devastating for nearly every sport both here and around the world.
We want everyone in our industry to focus on the challenge ahead of us, as we are the custodians of both the game and the Clubs that millions of Australians support and love.
There will be ample time to reflect on what caused the problem but the priority is getting through to the other side together.
With respect to your Club, our primary objective is to ensure that your Club is around to operate and compete when the football starts again.
· Employs over 60 people including coaches and Football Department staff (FT, PT and casual).
· Has a large number of contracted players across the NRL, the Canterbury Cup and elite juniors.
· Oversees an Elite Pathway Program that includes eight separate male and female high performance programs.
· Administers the Parramatta Junior Rugby League Competition with over 5,800 participants and 31 Clubs.
When we return there may be changes to our total cost structure and that is something that we will work through with other stakeholders like the RLPA and the NRL over the next three months.
This week was a very difficult and challenging time for your Club. Most likely no different to the situation that most (if not all) of you experienced over the past few weeks.
This week the Club made some important decisions to ensure we are able to meet our principal objective of surviving to compete at a later date.
Some of these decisions include:
· Reduced our ongoing payroll costs by 75%. A large number of employees have been stood down but have been given the option to take leave entitlements (annual and long service leave) during this period.
· Identifying the skeleton staff to keep the Club running over the next few months until we have more clarity on the 2020 season. The responsibility of those continuing staff is to work as hard as they possibly can in the coming months and sustain a business that will welcome our people back as soon as possible.
· All skeleton staff members have either; had their hours reduced or had a reduction in salary of up to 50%. Our senior executives had already volunteered to accept a large salary reduction.
· The skeleton staff includes our CEO, GM Football, Head of Commercial, Head of Membership and Head of Communications. Each department will have a small number of people (at reduced hours/salary) working for them during this difficult period.
To avoid any confusion, I wanted to clarify Brad’s situation during this period. Brad has been stood down along with the vast majority of our Football department staff but like others, he will be taking his annual leave entitlement but deferring his long service leave entitlement.
Like so many in our Club (staff and players), Brad is also making a large sacrifice because he has offered to continue to work during his leave period to ensure that our players are well prepared when they return. This approach was discussed and agreed with Brad and is the best way to manage our business during this period.
We have a number of challenges facing the Club during the next few months not least the wellbeing of our players and staff. It has been a priority of ours to ensure there are range of services available for our people through our welfare team to ensure they are supported during the next few months.
Looking after our people and working hard to support you our Members, Fans and Commercial partners will be critical to our success.
The approach outlined above, provides the Club with the best possible opportunity to reach our goal of hitting the ground running when the competition starts again.
With your support, the Club has achieved a tremendous amount over the past 3 years. This has put us in a good position to successfully work through these challenging times.
Please stay safe and we will keep you updated as much as possible.
Parramatta Eels Chairman
Eels Member no. 1478883