The AFL and AFLPA today reached agreement on a deal for players to take a reduction in their salary for the rest of the year of up to 70% as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan praised the AFLPA and the AFL players for their willingness to help clubs and the wider football industry to limit the financial losses being faced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said all stakeholders across the industry – players, coaches, umpires, staff, clubs, corporate and broadcast partners, members and supporters were sharing the pain. He said all were united in doing everything necessary to ensure the game we love remains strong for every level of the community across the country.
“The players always understood the gravity of the situation and have agreed to take significant pay cuts to ensure we can keep the industry going. I know it is not easy but I want to thank Paul Marsh and Patrick Dangerfield for their leadership and the action the players have taken for the collective good of the football community,” Mr McLachlan said.
“This issue has been incredibly complex and fast-moving and we have been able to achieve in a couple of days what would normally take months. The players were clear in their commitment to their clubs, to our sport, to ensuring they did what they could to keep the community safe while also agreeing to the necessary agility and flexibility to enable us to play the remaining 144 games and finals of the Toyota AFL premiership season.
AFL Players’ CEO Paul Marsh said that the players have remained committed to playing their role in helping the industry move through this challenging time.
“The impact of COVID-19 has been devastating on the community and the football industry,” Mr Marsh said.
“The players have been rocked by what has transpired all over the world in recent weeks and want to play their role to ensure that our great game comes through this strong and united.”
“The players have moved quickly to come to agreement with the AFL and the outcome is a fair one. It’s a complex situation and whilst there have been many discussions between the AFL and ourselves this week, they have been constructive and collaborative, and I thank Gill for his support through this. We will come through this a stronger industry despite the adversity we all currently find ourselves dealing with.”
Under the agreement, the AFLPA has agreed that:
- AFL Players to take a pay cut of 50% to the end of May and a pay cut beyond that of up to 70% if games are postponed for longer and 50% when games are resumed.
- Players have agreed to play until the end of December to provide flexible scheduling if required to complete the remaining 144 games plus finals of the Toyota AFL Premiership season.
- Further grants to the Association be cancelled until the end of October, which equates to more than $8m and includes payments for Injury and Hardship, Retirement Account, Player Development and Wellbeing, and Operating Grants.
- A $250,000 grant will be delivered for the AFLPA to provide ongoing mental health and wellbeing services as well as financial advice given players’ changed circumstances and a $500,000 grant to be paid to allow AFLPA to assist players in financial hardship.
- The AFL and AFLPA will also continue to work through implications for the current CBA and changes beyond 2020.
Mr McLachlan said the AFL was committed to playing the remaining 144 games plus finals of the Toyota AFL Premiership season and would work with the clubs and the players on the most appropriate – and safe – resumption date.
Mr McLachlan said it was vital to have the entire industry aligned to get the AFL competition, the 18 clubs and the wider football community through this challenge.
“I know it has been tough on everyone in football but it was important that we come together to get through this crisis. We have a long way to go but the actions of the players helps footy find a way through.”