WOMEN playing in the NAB AFL Women's competition will be paid a minimum $8500 in the first two seasons of the new competition as well as a range of extras relating to travel, gear and insurance.
A pay deal was announced on Thursday after months of negotiations between the AFL and the Players' Association that saw a lift in the League's initial offer of a minimum wage of $5000.
Under a pay deal struck for 2017, marquee players will receive a financial package of $27,000 (inclusive of $10,000 for their marketing and ambassadorial roles), the priority players $12,000, and the remaining listed players $8,500 for the seven-match (plus Grand Final) season.
Players will have to pay for private health insurance costs but the new package will see the AFL cover:
- costs for football boots and runners
- a travel allowance when playing interstate
- income protection insurance
- out-of-pocket medical expenses for 52 weeks post-contract
- carers allowance for players travelling interstate who have a child under 12 months old.
The two-year agreement will see the packages increase in the second season in all categories with the minimum payment being $9,726, while priority players will receive $12,486 and marquee players $27,946.
Game development boss Simon Lethlean said at a presentation to unveil the women's uniforms on Thursday that the increased pay came about to cover health insurance costs.
"The main thing from the commission's point of view was if we can make a larger contribution to private health insurance, we did. $500,000 was put towards that specifically to cover every girl's private health insurance," Lethlean said.
"Boots are part of the deal, training apparel is part of the deal, there's travel allowance."
Women’s players will be at their club for nine hours per week during the pre-season training block of eight weeks and nine hours plus match-days during the eight-week season.
The players will also complete 20 hours of appearances under this agreement.
More than 90 per cent of players voted on Monday, with more than 90 per cent of those agreeing to the deal proposed by the AFL.
AFL Players' Association chief executive Paul Marsh said those who voted against the deal were looking for a better financial offer.
"It probably comes back to money. Ask any employee in any job – people always want more," Marsh said.
"The fact that more than 90 per cent of the players have said this is a deal they're happy with, it shows we're heading in the right direction.
"We're certainly aligned with the AFL. This will get bigger and better and the players and the Players' Association have got a really important role to play in working with the AFL and clubs to achieve that."
Lethlean expects it will be a long time before the women's game funds itself, with a broadcast deal to be finalised in the coming weeks.
The AFL will not make any money from television stations.
"We've got one sponsor at the moment. We're trying to do broadcast deals now with our partners, which hopefully take shape in the next few weeks," Lethlean said.
"We don't expect rights fees from those broadcast deals at all. We just expect production support and coverage.
"This is a long journey and making a commercially viable female competition has been a challenge throughout the world. This is an investment from the AFL and the AFLPA in a start-up that will not pay for itself in the near future. It'll pay for itself in other ways."
An announcement on the fixture will likely come when the broadcast deal is finished.
"The fixture's pretty close to done ... as the round by rounds and who's playing, but we'd like to wait and settle our broadcast deals so we can announce the slots as well," he said.