THE doors have closed at the AFL Wimmera-Mallee office and staff have been temporarily stood down, as the governing body manages "unprecedented" obstacles caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
AFL Victoria has restructured its business operations after football-netball leagues statewide were suspended until at least May 31.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee operations staff who oversee the administration of football in the region - including long-time employee Stephen McQueen - are among many in Victoria stood down until May 31.
Newly appointed AFL Wimmera-Mallee area manager Jason Muldoon will work two days a week.
Mr Muldoon said the changes were made with the long-term health of football and netball in mind.
"(We) have begun the difficult process of restructuring our business operations for the ongoing viability of our sport," he said.
"I'm so proud of our team and the work we do, which has made these necessary steps extremely hard."
Mr Muldoon asked football-netball clubs to be patient and resilient amid the coronavirus crisis.
"The tough decision to stand down staff has been done around the survival of the clubs and making sure that when we're ready to play again, that we have all the clubs still standing," Mr Muldoon said.
The survival of clubs is the most important thing in all of this.Jason Muldoon
"Whether that is this year or next year, the survival of clubs is the most important thing in all of this. If we don't have them at the end of this, then we have nothing to hold up."
Mr Muldoon said the body was preparing for three possible scenarios for football-netball in 2020: the season beginning on June 6, the season beginning in July, or the season being cancelled.
Mr Muldoon also urged people to take care of themselves and of each other during a difficult time.
"While we all love football, the health of the Victorian community is our priority," he said. "The concern needs to be just doing the right thing by the community.
"The quicker we knuckle down and get on top of this, the quicker we are going to come out the other end."
Mr Muldoon said decisions were continually being made for the benefit of football and netball in the region.
"We ask people to be understanding of the people around you, the people making decisions right through the country and right at your football club," he said.
"They are making them in the best interest of you and the game and the region."
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