AFL AND AFLW players have locked in immediate pay rises and the length of the AFLW season will increase under a historic new joint collective bargaining agreement signed on Thursday.
Men's players will receive an instant boost of 10 per cent, backpaid for the 2023 season, while women's players pay will go up by 29 per cent for 2023.
By the end of the new pay deal, which runs until the end of 2027, the average AFL player salary will be about $519,000, while the average AFLW player salary will increase to $82,000 (from the current $46,000). AFLW players will also receive 12-month contracts, and will be able to sign multi-year deals.
Player payments in AFLW will increase by a total of 77 per cent by the end of the five-year deal across the League's 540 listed players.
The AFL past players' injury and hardship fund will receive $60 million over the life of the new CBA, up $40 million from the last deal.
As part of the agreement, there will be more five-day breaks in the men's competition (three per club) to accommodate more fixture flexibility as the League adds more Thursday night games in the new broadcast deal with partners Seven and Foxtel.
Men's draftees selected inside the top 20 will now sign a three-year contract, up from two seasons.
Discussions will also continue with clubs and the AFLPA on the proposed introduction of a mid-season trade period.
"There's still detail to work out around it, but I think it's something that the game could benefit from," Geelong captain and AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield said of the mid-season trade debate.
"There's players that could certainly benefit from it.
"And depending on the situation that each team is in I think there's benefits for both teams that lose players and teams that gain players."
AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh said the three-year draftee contracts would benefit young players and the clubs trying to retain their key developing talent.
The pay on offer in the third year of the contract would be performance-based.
"Someone like Nick (Daicos) who's obviously had an incredible first couple of years in the system, his payment will scale up based on his performance, the games played, the awards won, all that sort of stuff," Marsh said.
"So that's quite an important part of this. It's not restraining them to a base level, it's rewarding performance."
"The new CBA provides certainty to the players for both competitions, it recognises their impact and contribution in continuing to make sure we have the greatest game in the world," AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said.
"Our AFLW players receive another immediate boost after an historic 94 per cent increase last season, and the opportunity is ahead of the competition to continue to grow in length if we can reach some key support metrics that have been achieved before.
"Together we will focus on expanding crowds and TV audience for the women’s competition while working to engage more women and girls to take up football."
Summary of the new CBA
- 10 per cent increase in base pay in 2023.
- 37 per cent increase in pay over the life of the deal.
- Average player salary to increase from $387,000 in 2022 to $519,000 in 2027.
- Three-year contracts for first round draftees.
- Regulated payments for third year players.
- Player leave has increased based on the last CBA.
- Five-day breaks provide greater flexibility in fixturing – including more Thursday night games.
- Injury and hardship fund ($40 million boost) - $60 million over five years, up from $20 million.
- Discussions on a mid-season trade period to continue with clubs.
- 29 per cent pay uplift for AFLW players effective immediately.
- AFLW season length to increase to 12 rounds in 2025, potentially 14 rounds in 2027 based on achieving key metrics
- The AFLW Total Player Payments inclusive of Base amount is more than $32.3 million for 2023, compared to $25 million for Season Seven and $10.4 million in Season Six.
- Clubs will continue to be required to ensure there are minimum levels of medical, physical preparation and high-performance staff resourcing to allow AFLW players to prepare for matches and training sessions more efficiently.
- AFLW players will receive increased certainty with 12-month contracts implemented, and the ability to sign multi-year contracts – the same as the men’s AFL competition.
- A world leading 12-month pregnancy policy, commencing from six weeks before a player’s due date, will be immediately introduced as will increased investment into player support and welfare.
- Increased access to players for media and broadcast via new broadcast policy to be introduced.
- All AFL players in the 23 named from the week before to be available to media in the week after their match.
- Player relocation and travel benefits will be equitable for both AFL and AFLW players who relocate states.
- A joint committee will be set up by the AFL and AFLPA to ensure a safe working environment for all players.