Mental health and wellbeing was high on the agenda when the AFL industry’s accredited agents gathered in Melbourne for their annual conference.
It was a key theme through discussions between the AFLPA and player agents about the challenges faced by AFL players now and into the future.
Player agents were introduced to mental health and wellbeing smart phone app Mindmax and also completed formal training through the AFL Players’ Association Mental Health Education course.
This evidenced-based, industry-specific program is facilitated by the AFLPA Psychology Services team and is designed to broaden awareness and understanding of topics relevant to the mental health of players.
“This conference presented us with a very timely opportunity to deliver our program to agents, a group within the industry that plays a critical role in supporting the wellbeing of our players,” the AFL Players’ Association Mental Health & Wellbeing Manager Brent Hedley said.
“The course is designed to equip agents with the tools and practical strategies to support players, as well as themselves. Today they illustrated their willingness, passion and continued commitment to support improve outcomes in mental health.”
Agents were also briefed on the finer points of the recently-finalised CBA, including Total Player Payments (TPP), the new injury and lifetime health care fund, industry aligned player development strategy and updates to player licensing.
“Agents play an incredibly important role in the lives of their players, and this conference gives us a great opportunity to talk to them about key issues confronting players and the industry as a whole,” Brett Murphy, Chair of the Agents Accreditation Board, said.
“It’s not only a chance for us to impart knowledge on the agents, but for agents to get together to share their experiences, with each other and also with the PA. A number of the key changes obtained in the recent CBA were as a direct result of forums such as these, and the insights gained from the agent group.”
Agents were also advised of the AFLPA Agent Accreditation Board’s (AAB) decision to introduce a minimum age for approaching prospective clients.
They are now prohibited from approaching junior footballers until October 1 of their 16th year under the updated regulations and code of conduct
In addition to this, agents can no longer be directly involved in a second-tier competition or within the official talent pathway. These changes will come into effect on October 1, 2017.
“The introduction of a minimum age for approaches will enable young players to concentrate on their Under 16 football year before being confronted with the difficult decision of selecting an agent,” Murphy said.
“It also gives us the opportunity to educate players and their parents about the process, and to provide them with the tools to make this important decision.”
The AFL Players’ Association is the sole body responsible for the accreditation, development and regulation of player agents. The AFLPA implements an accreditation system that looks to ensure only competent and ethical individuals represent AFL players.