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AFLPA statement on new pay deal

AFL Chairman Richard Goyder and President Matthew Pavlich today signed a 6-year agreement covering total player payment levels, increases to player salaries, the Player Retirement Scheme and injury and hardship support, together with a significant increase to player education, development and wellbeing programs.  

The new agreement recognises the significant contribution the AFL players make to the football industry with a share of defined forecast revenue streams and mechanisms that tie further benefits to the success of the industry. 

AFL Chairman, Mr. Richard Goyder said that the agreement delivered within the investment model established by the AFL Commission and was a win for all the key pillars of the AFL’s strategy -  players, clubs, fans and the grassroots of the game. 

“This is a great outcome for our industry, delivering certainty and stability, respecting our players, and allowing the AFL to invest in the future.

 “Our players play the toughest, fastest and most spectacular game in the world, and this agreement rewards their role,” Mr. Goyder said. 

“We are very proud to work in partnership with our players to protect and grow the game, and I thank the Association for their strong advocacy on behalf of their members, and their commitment to the whole game. 

AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh said the new CBA will benefit players of the past, present and future, and incentivises them to work with the AFL to grow the game over the next six years. 

“This CBA rewards the players for the role they’ve played, and continue to play, in making our game great. It also ensures the industry is primed to grow grassroots football, maintain 18 strong clubs and continue to deliver an incredible product for fans.

“The players’ guiding principle through this negotiation was partnership and we’re thrilled to secure a deal that reflects this.

“The AFL Players’ Association is committed to working with the AFL, AFL Clubs, players and other football stakeholders to drive growth and strengthen the AFL industry’s position as the most successful professional sport in Australia.”  

AFLPA President, Mr. Matthew Pavlich says this negotiation was driven by the players and the final result was testament to their desire to be recognized as a genuine partner in the game. 

“The players gave the ‘PA 10 key priorities to achieve in the new CBA and we’ve been able to generate outcomes in all of them. The fact that players overwhelmingly voted for the deal highlights the unity demonstrated by players throughout the negotiation,” he said. 

“This CBA will leave a legacy that the current players should be proud of,” Mr. Pavlich said.

Summary of the Agreement 

Player payments:

  • TPP will increase by 20 per cent in 2017, to $12.45 million per club ($224m in total), with increases of 1.2%, 1.3%, 2%, 2%, 2% in years 2018-2022.
  • Players receive 28 per cent of forecast defined football revenue and benefit from a review mechanism that captures a share of additional AFL and club revenue.  
  • Players are entitled to receive 28% of AFL revenues and 11.2% of club revenues above forecasts.
  • The agreed model excludes certain revenues and contemplates margins and affordability. Exclusions to the model includes bequests, donations, government grants, non-football revenues and AFLW revenue.
  • The minimum rookie payment will increase to $71,500 in 2017, while the base payment for a first round draft pick will rise to $88,200 in 2017. 

Increased investment in Education, Development, Wellbeing and Retirement:

  • An extra $6 million of funding into player retirement accounts over the six years. 
  • Increased funding over the agreement to $13m for player development and a new industry-wide structure for delivery
  • Modernised injury payments model, guaranteed funding of $250,000 annually for concussion research and improved travel and accommodation conditions.
  • Past players will benefit from the establishment of a Lifetime Health Care program that will provide assistance with the costs of joint-related and dental procedures stemming from their football careers. 
  • Category-A rookie-listed players will be eligible to play senior football from 2018 

Free Agency:  

  • Players no longer need to be restricted free agents before becoming unrestricted. 
  • Other free agency qualification periods remain as is (8 years restricted (if in top 25% of paid players at club) 10 years unrestricted.
  • Also, at least one additional free agency provision to be adopted by October 2017, from:

o   Free agency for life

o   Free agency portability

o   Restricted free agency at 4 years for any players under median salary 

o   Such other change proposed by AFL and agreed by AFLPA 

Other: 

  • Improved travel, accommodation and leave conditions
  • Eight grand final tickets for participating players
  • Emergency player payments