THE slashing of AFL clubs' soft cap expenditure is expected to be far greater than first feared.
Clubs had been bracing for cuts around 30 per cent ($9.7 million down to $6.7 million), but it is now likely the total allowed to be spent on off-field football department staff for the 2021 season and beyond will be reduced by 40 per cent, to $6 million per club.
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The AFL will brief clubs next week on the soft cap and a range of other issues relating to post 2020, including the main AFL feeder competitions and talent academies. It is unlikely the official reduction figure will be revealed at that briefing.
Assistant coaches and recruiters will be the job sectors hardest hit in the soft cap cutbacks, forced by financial shockwaves related to the COVID-19 enforced competition shutdown.
The AFL and the AFL Players Association also need to strike new arrangements from 2020.
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With AFL and club officials engaged in detailed negotiations relating to clubs being based in an isolated hub, or hubs, in order to play the remaining 144 matches plus finals of the 2020 season, it can also be revealed:
- FOUR regions of Victoria are under consideration for use as an accommodation base – the Mornington Peninsula, Surf Coast, Yarra Valley and the Macedon precinct
- THE cost of operating a hub, or hubs, would run into tens of millions of dollars, given accommodation would be required for at least six weeks (three weeks of "pre-season" training and then a minimum least three weeks of matches) for at least 740 players (18 clubs times 40 players) and a collective hundreds of staff
- THE AFL is unlikely to reveal exact dates on a resumption to season 2020 training and playing when it briefs clubs on Monday
- THE once-mooted top-up draft before a resumption of play in 2020 is now unlikely
- THE possibility of an increase from four to at least six players on interchange benches for remaining 2020 matches is getting stronger
Clubs were early this week asked to submit answers to a survey-style document issued by the AFL asking for input on key aspects of the future.
It is expected they will receive preliminary findings and plans on those topics in briefings next week.