LANCE Franklin's proposed move to the Sydney Swans is almost across the line after the AFL on Tuesday approved the extraordinary nine-year, $10 million offer to the restricted free agent.
The Swans' bold bid to recruit the superstar was officially lodged last Friday and the AFL has since been examining all aspects of the deal.
Now that is has been ticked off, the Hawks have three days to decide whether to match the offer under the terms of the AFL's free agency.
That is unlikely to happen, although Hawthorn may match it so it can improve its position by forcing the Swans to make a trade for Franklin, who has expressed his desire to continue his career in the Harbour City.
The contract offer is back-ended, with the Swans set to have more room in their cap once the likes of Adam Goodes and Ryan O'Keefe have retired in the coming years.
There is also the issue over ongoing liability if Franklin is unable or chooses not to see out the entire contract, which would take him through to the age of 35.
The Swans also have to juggle the contract of fellow key forward Kurt Tippett signed last year, believed to be worth more than $3.5 million over four years.
The club has also been advised it may lose its controversial Cost of Living Allowance from 2015 onwards, which would also impact on its salary cap.
But the deal has been approved, with the AFL releasing a statement on Tuesday afternoon officially ratifying the terms of the proposed deal.
AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon conducted formal interviews with all parties involved around the detail of the proposed arrangement.
"The AFL acknowledged that the nature of the nine-year deal was an unprecedented commitment of TPP funds to a single player over such a contract length," Dillon said.
"As a result the AFL sought a number of written guarantees from all members of the club’s board, as well as its senior management."
- An explicit acknowledgement that the long-term specific financial commitment over the nine-year agreement will apply to the Sydney Swans FC’s Total Player Payments (TPP) for each of the nine years,a regardless of how many years Franklin is available to play for the club.
- The Swans’ Board and senior management will be required to meet with the AFL on an annual basis specifically to review how the Club is managing its TPP obligations in regards to the Franklin contract.
- An assurance the Board has been provided with all information it required to properly assess the contract offer, including medical reviews and financial planning around the club’s long-term TPP position.
Dillon said the AFL had also reconfirmed to the Swans' board and senior management that all club and player allowances, including the COLA, were currently being reviewed by the AFL with the prospect of variations from the 2015 season as part of broader revenue-sharing reforms to the competition.
Franklin's manager Liam Pickering had told SEN on Saturday he was always confident the deal would be approved.
“I was more than happy to tell them what happened,” he said regarding the investigation into the deal.
“It’s pretty straightforward. The money is in the (Swans’) cap, there’s no third-party deal, there’s no skulduggery."