North Melbourne CEO Ben Amarfio says the club aims to be debt-free within 12 months.
North posted a $200,000 profit this year, despite the impacts of the pandemic, with the current debt total standing at around $400,000; down from $9 million a decade ago.
“Our goal is to have zero debt this time next year,” Amarfio told the Herald Sun.
“We have wiped, I think, over $9 million of debt in the last decade. I think it is a great testament to the board, to the previous management teams and previous staff who have done a great job over that decade.
“There is one very good reason why we got the result we did this year and that’s because more than 97 per cent of our members stuck with us, despite the fact they couldn’t go and see one game, plus Mazda, Spirit of Tasmania and our other sponsors and coterie group stayed on board.”
Amarfio, who has been in role for a year, said he didn’t understand the negative narrative that often surrounds the Roos’ finances.
“I am not going to speak to other club’s finances, but I can speak to our club’s finances. At the start of the season we had a debt of $650,000 … we have reduced that debt – despite COVID and despite not having any of our members attend matches and all the financial benefits that come along with that – down from $650,000 to $400,000,” Amarfio said.
He said the club’s profit of around $200,000 was close to the amount made by premiership winners Richmond, who this week announced an operating profit of $217,727.
Amarfio also dismissed claims North would be paying Brad Scott and Rhyce Shaw for the 2021 season, and that the Roos would be taking on all of Jaidyn Stephenson’s salary after his move from Collingwood.
“Brad Scott and Rhyce Shaw’s payments have been finished, finalised and completed in the 2020 financial year. We shut the book on the 31st of October,” Amarfio said.
“No, they (Collingwood) are not (paying anything) … we are paying his (whole) salary,” Amarfio said of the club’s long-term deal with the 2018 AFL Rising Star winner.
Amarfio said that the club’s ability to remove itself from debt would be of huge significance, particularly with the proposed development of the Arden precinct.
“(If the club is out of debt), it means we start to build our cash reserves and we start to build our asset base,” he said.
“That’s what we will be concentrating on and that’s the Arden St precinct and the whole urban renewal of the whole North Melbourne area could bring about seismic change for the club and for the community.”
After submitting a 148-page document to the Victorian Planning Authority, the Roos are hoping to be involved in the Urbal Renewal Precinct that is expected to accommodate approximately 34,000 jobs and new 15,000 residents.
“We are hoping by the end of the first quarter of next year the government will be in a situation to finalise the structure plan and hopefully some of our suggestions and plans will be taken on board,” Amarfio said.