Private ownership of clubs has been flagged as a way for the AFL to ease the financial burden of the season shutdown.
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However, the concept has been tried before.
The AFL has poured millions of dollars into Gold Coast and GWS during the past decade and will continue to fund the expansion clubs.
Debt-ridden clubs like St Kilda and Brisbane receive generous yearly handouts from the AFL under the league's equalisation model.
The AFL has been able to do this as a result of becoming a financial juggernaut during the past 25 years.
However, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis will be felt across Australian sport for years and the AFL isn't immune.
Giants chief executive Dave Matthews believes private ownership is "worth contemplating" and last year's grand finalists could be among those considered.
GWS have backing from an American-based group called M7, who have been silently tipping money into the club.
"I guess the discussion's come up from time to time, because the landscape in the US is very much based on private ownership," Matthews told SEN.
"The support's great as it is (but) whether there's a possibility of going further is something probably worth contemplating in the current circumstances."
Gold Coast coach Stuart Dew said the private ownership path could be "scary" for staff and players.
"I think it could potentially be a little bit more volatile," he told SEN.
"Having a little bit more time watching a couple of these (sports) docs... that would be pretty scary because they (EPL club Queens Park Rangers) went through six managers in about five months so there is some downside to private ownership.
"We're very happy to sit where we are at the moment."
Dew only needs to speak to Carlton premiership coach Robert Walls, who was in charge at Brisbane during the Bears' ill-fated foray into private ownership, about those unique challenges.
With the then-VFL struggling to stay afloat, the league went about expanding nationally to increase capital.
A consortium, led by former actor Paul Cronin, with businessman Christopher Skase tipping in the money, was awarded a licence to create a Brisbane team.
But as Skase's business empire collapsed, Gold Coast tycoon Reuben Pelerman stepped in briefly to rescue the club in 1990.
Walls coached the Bears for five seasons, from 1991, as Pelerman's ownership was inevitably coming to an end.
"Whilst Reuben was the owner, you didn't see a great deal of him," Walls told News Corp last year.
"Reuben comes in one day, walks up to me and says 'I'm locking the gates, it's all over'.
"(Bears football manager) Shane O'Sullivan said to me 'don't worry about that, he says that all the time'."
But it wasn't just the Bears debacle which has caused the AFL to steer clear of private ownership since the early-1990s - with the exception of West Coast and Fremantle being owned by the West Australian Football Commission.
Geoffrey Edelsten's purchase of Sydney in the mid-1980s set the club on a path towards near extinction less than 10 years later.
The Swans were eventually taken over by another ownership group from 1988 before the AFL took back the club in 1993.
Edelsten said private ownership can never work in the AFL as clubs thrive off the loyalty of passionate members.
"AFL people don't feel the same attachment to a privately owned club,'' he said in 2011.
"Members feel the club belongs to them.
"But when there is a private owner things change and people have a different attachment to the club."
Australian Associated Press
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