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No resolution in King compensation case

AFL 2014 Rd 02 - Richmond v Carlton
Jake King's AFL career ended in 2014

MEDIATION talks between the AFL and Jake King over a compensation claim for a career-ending injury could head to the AFL Grievance tribunal, after the parties failed to reach a resolution last week.

While it remains possible the case could be settled before the hearing, King's lawyer John Gdanski told AFL.com.au on Thursday he was determined to take every step to ensure the former utility received adequate compensation.

King first made the application for compensation early in 2015, but the case dragged on after his initial application was rejected on the basis that the career-ending injury was due to a pre-existing injury.

That finding in May was disputed as his lawyers and the AFLPA both considered the decision to be flawed, and King resolved to take the matter further.

AFL representatives caught up with King this month after previously scheduled meetings were postponed.

King argues in his claim that a toe injury suffered in round 3, 2014 when the Tigers played West Coast forced him to retire at the end of that season.

King has had multiple surgeries since his retirement and was seeking 50 per cent of his final year's salary, which he believed he was entitled to under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Players are not covered by workers compensation legislation, and their claims are dependent on the interpretation of a clause relating to career ending injury in the CBA.

That clause is understood to state that compensation is only available if the injury occurs in the final year of the player's contract.

Sources have told AFL.com.au that the AFLPA believes that if a player gets an injury in the penultimate year of his contract and then suffers a new injury when trying to return in the final year of his contract, he should be entitled to compensation.

The clause was the subject of discussion at a recent Player Agents' conference, with some considering the limitation an anomaly that wasn't in the spirit of the agreement.

While people within the industry understand a rigorous process needs to be adopted when awarding compensation for career ending injuries so the system is not exploited many are frustrated at the time it takes for matters to be dealt with and the system.

Gdanski criticised the AFL for the time that had elapsed since the claim was made and their overall approach to the matter. 

"Their definition and interpretation of an injury is incorrect, the spirit has been breached and the delay as unacceptable and the fact they have even tried to negotiate a figure that is not the full 50 per cent is disappointing," Gdanski told AFL.com.au