A MID-SEASON trade period will not be introduced in 2024 but the AFL remains keen to bring in the revolutionary player movement mechanism in coming seasons.
The League announced some rule tweaks on Tuesday but has ruled out adding in the mid-season trade window for this season, with complexities around rules still to be worked through.
Last year's new Collective Bargaining Agreement between the AFL and AFL Players Association saw both parties agree in principle on its introduction, however with the competition's Opening Round only a month away, it will not be brought in for this season.
An introduction in 2025 appears more likely with the AFL open to bringing it in.
"We'll go through a detailed consultation period," the AFL's football general manager Laura Kane said on Tuesday.
"We have just received feedback from our clubs around competitive balance and a lot of the questions that we asked related to player movement at all different times of the year. What we heard from clubs is that they need time to introduce something as significant as a mid-season trade period, it's too soon for this year.
"So we won't be introducing it this year but we have an appetite for it and we want to explore the concept further ahead of next season."
Clubs, coaches and list bosses have a broad range of views on the need for a mid-season trade period but the AFL is looking at it to be added to the player movement landscape.
Consultation on rules, potential parameters of deals, which players and draft picks can or can't be traded, and other possible caveats are part of the details that would be worked through once the AFL settles on when it can implement mid-season trading.
Part of the decision in not greenlighting the mid-season trade period for 2024 relates to the planning for clubs, who swapped future picks and had sorted selections for Academy and father-son prospects with the view of there not being a mid-season trade.
The AFL is conscious of providing clubs with a decent lead-in time for them to strategise on mid-season deals. The League sees mid-season trading as adding another element for fans during the season and for players searching for opportunity at the top level.
Kane said "ahead of the next player movement period" would be enough time to give the clubs information on rules relating to a mid-season trade window the following season.
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The AFL last Friday received its full feedback from clubs on player movement as part of its competitive balance review, which saw a range of topics for clubs to give their views on, including the northern Academy system, Next Generation Academies, Draft Value Index points system, list sizes, talent pathways, future pick rules and finding ways to develop more Indigenous and multicultural talents at the top level.
The mid-season draft, which was reintroduced to the competition in 2019, will continue this year as an opportunity for clubs to fill their list to replace an injured or retired player or take on a list vacancy.