AFL PLAYERS have pledged an immediate 50 per cent pay cut for at least the next two months, just hours after they were hit with a heavier request from the AFL. understands the League's initial wish was for the players' wages to be slashed by 79 per cent. 

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Then, after a series of phone hook-ups with the AFL Players Association board, senior players – including captains – and leading player agents on Monday night, the AFLPA agreed it was willing to put forward 50 per cent cuts for April and May. 

It will now need to be negotiated with the AFL.

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Wages will be slashed during April and May after the players' income for March has been received.

It will be reassessed pending the return of football that has been postponed until at least the start of June.

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Players and staff were preparing to go into lockdown on Monday afternoon, with football department doors to be shut from Wednesday.

Players will continue to train individually but will be away from clubs until at least the end of April given they're required a month's notice before they're informed they can return to play.

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A host of players have returned to their home states before strict laws around access for individual states are enforced.

Clubs' football departments will be reduced to a 'skeleton' staff as they prepare for the reduction in the soft cap for this season and 2021. 

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A return to play in the first week of June is the best case scenario but the AFL will continue to be guided by government officials over an approved return date.

It comes after revealed all senior coaches had put their hands up for 20 per cent wage cuts last week. 

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Meanwhile, Essendon's Conor McKenna headlines a number of Irish players who have opted to return home before national borders are closed officially around the globe.

As of Sunday night, McKenna was set to stay in Australia, until the abrupt call was made on Monday morning.