AFL PLAYERS' Association boss Paul Marsh says the widespread view that footballers' wages are tied to industry revenue rising and falling is "not right" and too simplistic.
The current collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed upon in June 2017, tied player salaries to mutually agreed industry revenues for the first time in the game's history.
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However, Marsh said this led to somewhat of a misunderstanding about the players' position, particularly throughout the COVID-19 crisis, which has significantly impacted the industry.
He told SEN radio that industry revenue was split into three "pools", including forecast AFL and club revenue for the duration of the CBA, AFL revenue above forecast, and club revenue above forecast.
Marsh said players received 28 per cent from each of the first two pools, and 11.2 per cent of club revenue above forecast despite wanting "a 28 per cent share of that as well".
"The trade-off for not getting that pure revenue share model was that we agreed the players wouldn't go backwards if revenue forecasts didn't hit targets," Marsh said.
"So this view that players just go up and down based on the actual revenue is not right.
"That doesn't mean it's not something that can be discussed but the deal that's in place is the players don't go back with this, unless we get to a point where there is a significant hit to industry revenues, which we've seen this year, or expect to see this year.
"Under our deal, the industry would need to have a hit of a significant amount over two consecutive years, so that's part of a discussion we'll have with the AFL."
Marsh negotiated in late March with the AFL a player pay cut that sees them receive only half of their individual contract from April this year to the end of October.
The AFLPA agreed at the time to review the CBA, which is due to expire at the end of 2022 but Marsh said any changes would depend on the AFL being transparent about the "real impact" beyond this year.
That means, he said, the AFL needed to open its books to the AFLPA.
"You'd like to think if we're having good faith negotiation, then we would get that information. I think it would be totally fair and reasonable," Marsh said.
"In the review we did in March, we have got a clause that talks to the AFL providing us with the information we require.
"It's not appropriate for us to be going in and considering a change to a deal that's already in place in a blind sense."
The potential changes include reduced player salaries and smaller list sizes, with Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon last week flagging at least a 20 per cent to footballers' wages for 2021 and beyond.
Marsh said comments such as Gordon's were "a bit of white noise" and he was yet to see a "compelling case" for list sizes being reduced.
"The industry would need to show we don't need these players," he said.
"Our view, as an association, isn't necessarily about jobs to maximise the number of contracts, it's to get the right number.
"We've done a lot of work on the historic numbers of players used by clubs, and it's hard to mount an argument that we should be making wholesale changes to list sizes.
"I'm not sure what can happen if we have spates of injuries at clubs and those sorts of things, so they're conversations that need to take place."
Marsh said the AFLPA was involved in making sure the Gold Coast quarantine hub environment was "as comfortable as possible" for West Coast, Fremantle, Port Adelaide and Adelaide players.
There has also been a spike in past players requesting financial help from the AFLPA during the coronavirus pandemic.