Simon Goodwin and Angus Brayshaw after Melbourne's loss to Geelong in round 15, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

CLUBS will be afforded salary cap relief for players who are forced out of the game due to concussion for three years following their retirement under the new guidelines established by the AFL and announced on Monday.

The League wrote to clubs to explain its set of guidelines that will govern the total player payments relief for AFL and AFLW players who have to retire before the end of their contract due to a recommendation from the AFL concussion panel.

For AFL players affected, the guidelines have two key features – the ability to gradually pay the negotiated financial settlement with the player over the period of the contract and also maximum thresholds of salary cap relief within three years following the retirement.

In the year immediately following the retirement, the max threshold will be 90 per cent, the second year the max threshold will be 75 per cent and in the third year the max threshold will be 50 per cent.

But the AFL has said longer contracts beyond three years will not come under the guidelines.

"No relief will generally be provided with regards to TPP (total player payments) commitments that extend four years or longer following the year of retirement. Clubs should ensure that this is appropriately factored into the risk assessment processes undertaken for player contracts that extend over four years," the AFL statement said.


"The guidelines are only applicable in the specific circumstance of retirement occurring subject to a recommendation being made by the AFL concussion panel. Retirements due to other injuries, or decisions made unilaterally by the player or the club, will be subject to existing TPP assessment rules. 

"The guidelines do not provide a guarantee of TPP relief being provided with regards to any specific concussion-related retirement event. 

"The provision of TPP relief is at the complete discretion of the concussion TPP committee with consideration given to the terms of the relevant contract and the circumstances of each eligible retirement, and subject to the maximum thresholds approved."

Clubs will pay the money but the thresholds will be paid outside of the salary cap using the thresholds in the guidelines. 

Melbourne star Angus Brayshaw, Collingwood premiership defender Nathan Murphy and young Bulldog Aiden O'Driscoll have all retired this year with their respective concussion issues. 


The AFL Commission approved the issuing of the guidelines, with the League also announcing the TPP relief for AFLW players in the event they retire due to concussion.

"In the usual course, where an AFLW player is no longer able to play due to injury, the retiring player receives their contractual payments, but payments made to the replacement player are not assessable in the club's TPP. However, under the provisions of the CBA and AFLW list rules, no matter what tier the retiring player is, they may only be replaced with a tier four player," the statement said.

"Under the guidelines, in circumstances where an AFLW player retires subject to a recommendation made by an AFL concussion panel, the concussion TPP committee may at its discretion permit the injured player to be replaced with a player from a tier above tier four (on terms to be determined at its discretion).

"In consideration and determination of such a matter, the concussion TPP committee will again look at the terms of the relevant contract and the circumstances of each eligible retirement."