AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has ticked the final box on his to-do list, with the league and AFL Players’ Association finally agreeing to a historic and mega Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
The AFL and AFLPA on Thursday confirmed details of a new five-year, $2.26 billion CBA, which is the first joint agreement between men’s and women’s players
Multiple reports on Wednesday night suggested 98 per cent of all men’s and women’s players in the past week had agreed to the CBA details, including 99.7 per cent of AFLW players.
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Some of the key details include:
— AFL average wage to increase from $387,000 to $519,000 by 2027. Men’s players will be backpaid for the 2023 season and receive an instant 10 per cent boost.
— AFLW average wage to increase from $49,000 to $87,000 by 2027. Women’s players’ pay will increase by 29 per cent for 2023.
— Clubs to play 11 AFLW home and away games in 2024 then increasing to as many as 14 by 2027, depending on certain metrics
— $60 million contribution to injury hardship allowances and concussion funds.
— More five-day breaks in the AFL competition (three per club) to accommodate more fixture flexibility
— Three-year contracts for players taken in the first round of the men’s draft
— The eventual introduction of a mid-season trade period, with discussions ongoing
Senior AFL Media reporter Damian Barrett said the AFLPA in past years had been hesitant around increasing contract lengths for draftees.
“That‘s been the AFL Players Association’s stance on it, that two years is enough, and that it shouldn’t be a death sentence for a young player to go there,” Barrett told Channel 9’s Footy Classified.
“Whether it comes in for this particular draft (2023), yet to be played out. The lawyers have got this document from both parties and they‘ll thrash it out.”
The agreed CBA marks the end of months of tense negotiations between the AFL and the players’ union.
As he announced in April 2022 his intention to step down as AFL chief executive, McLachlan confirmed he wanted to finish a new TV broadcast rights deal, plans for a Tasmanian team, a new club funding model and a CBA for both the men’s and women’s competitions.
“The new CBA provides certainty to the players for both competitions, it recognises their impact and contribution in continuing to make sure we have the greatest game in the world,” McLachlan said.
“Our AFLW players receive another immediate boost after an historic 94 per cent increase last season, and the opportunity is ahead of the competition to continue to grow in length if we can reach some key support metrics that have been achieved before.
“Together we will focus on expanding crowds and TV audience for the women’s competition while working to engage more women and girls to take up football.”
The six-year men‘s CBA finalised in June 2017 – and included revisions in 2021 – expired at the end of the 2022 season, as did the three-year women’s deal struck in 2019.
MORE TO COME
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