THE AFLW competition's elite players will soon need to be paid under the Additional Services Agreement (ASA) cap as part of the landmark joint Collective Bargaining Agreement, which was finally signed on Thursday.
Two players per AFLW club are currently allowed to be paid outside of the ASA cap – which essentially acts as a type of salary cap – but it's understood that provision will be withdrawn by 2025 as part of the new agreement.
Clubs can currently sign players to tiered contracts, then offer them additional money as part of ASA deals, to reflect their true value. There has always been a cap on ASA payments, though two players have been able to be paid outside of that limit.
Although the ASA cap will also increase as part of the new CBA agreement, it's understood a series of players sitting outside that cap currently have significant ASA deals that would encompass a large portion of their club's existing cap.
But clubs will now need to begin phasing back ASA payments under the new agreement, which won't be applied until 2025 to ensure all multi-year contracts signed in recent years are honoured.
The four new expansion clubs brought into the competition last year, as well as rebuilding AFLW teams, had previously relied heavily on such a mechanism to financially tempt players away from the League's best sides.
Tiered payment structures will also remain for AFLW clubs, but no additional spots above Tier 4 have been created to accommodate the 36 players across the competition that will now need to be brought back under the ASA cap.
Clubs had otherwise been hoping to shuffle players into higher tiers to cover the potential loss of ASA payments.
It was announced on Thursday that AFLW players will receive an uplift of 29 percent for the current 2023 campaign as part of the new CBA deal, with the average wage to increase from $46,000 to $60,000 this year before rising to $82,000 by 2027.