AFL players qualify for government money
Player managers agreed the AFL must show them exactly how many dollars the game has lost through the COVID-19 pandemic before the salary cap could be attacked.
About 60 agents joined AFL Players' Association boss Paul Marsh on a 45-minute Zoom meeting, where they learned players earning less than $142,000 would qualify for JobKeeper allowances when 70 per cent pay cuts kick in.
Draftees and rookies should get access to a $1500 fortnightly top-up to help them through football's shutdown.
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Managers wanted to know whether the AFL could fixture more than 22 home-and-away games next year or revive State of Origin to help replenish funds. Marsh said all options to grow the game's revenue were on the table.
The football department soft spending cap appears certain to shrink from $9.7 million to $6.7 million next year, but it remains unclear how much the $13 million salary cap will be reduced by.
The loss of broadcast and sponsorship dollars will ultimately decide how far the salary cap is wound back for the remaining two years (2021-2022) of the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Revenue streams including government grants, club gaming revenue, non-football and AFLW revenue are not counted in the CBA and therefore will not impact the salary cap.
"For changes (to the salary cap) to be made, the AFLPA must agree. There are two parties in the deal," one manager said last night.
Agents were, predictably, united that list sizes should remain untouched and coaches agree they require about 40 players for full-scale training drills and match simulation.
But with football departments certain to be scaled back, Carlton's Sam Docherty said players needed to rethink pursuing post-playing careers in football.
"It's probably the first time for a number of years where I've started to second guess whether footy is my sole future," Docherty said.
"I've always thought I'd go into coaching and an assistant role, but … I've reassessed whether that's going to be a viable plan."
Docherty served as a quasi-assistant on the interchange bench as he recovered from consecutive knee reconstructions.
It has been decided that players on heavily front or back-ended contracts that were expecting to cash in this year would be compensated for.
Carlton helped claim Jack Martin through the pre-season draft by paying a large percentage of his salary in 2020.
PERTH IDEAL LOCATION FOR QUARANTINE HUB
THE AFL discussed its centralised hub idea with Perth Stadium two weeks ago and the venue believes nearby hotels and training facilities would make Perth the ideal location for six clubs to set up camp.
But Perth Stadium boss Mike McKenna got the impression the AFL was in no rush and was instead waiting for further government and health advice before advancing plans to restart the competition.
"Perth's a very good option, not just because of the low infection rate," McKenna said.
"We have a venue with hotels all around it and there's easy access, which means there's not a lot of making people drive across towns or getting caught in traffic.
"They can stay at any number of hotels in the vicinity and get to the stadium quite easily, so from that perspective it's actually a pretty good location."
The AFL's best chance of resuming the season in July would be to send six teams to three different hubs, where players would effectively live and play in quarantined areas and in front of no crowds.
McKenna said clubs could train at the WACA Ground, which is just over Swan River from Perth Stadium, or at any number of nearby parks and open land.
"Even Lathlain, the home of the Eagles, has two grounds that are probably both usable," he said.
"There's lots of facilities around for training and a couple you could play at."
Originally published as AFL players qualify for government money