Season 2016 has already presented plenty of on-field action and excitement as well as some off-field debate and discussion on the game’s important issues.
This week, one key issue for the game has begun to play out publicly – the AFLPA and AFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for 2017 and beyond.
The players hold the view that this new CBA provides genuine opportunity for football administrators, players and stakeholders of the game to unite in the creation of a long-term professional and sustainable partnership on behalf of the game we all love.
The football community has the chance this year to build a framework for the game that unifies its various parts by considering the best interests of players (past, present and future) and their families, AFL clubs and their members, supporters and the wider community.
Rather than seeing it as a traditional bargaining process both in name and in principle, we prefer an approach that’s centred around a professional partnership – with the AFL, and all of its stakeholders.
The term ‘collective bargaining agreement’ sells short the significance of the work being done. What we’re working on this year is a forward-looking commitment that will enable players and administrators to work together and realise a unified growth ambition for the game from which all of the game’s stakeholders will ultimately benefit.
For the players, a partnership approach to the game is headlined by one key principle: sharing.
“For the Players, a partnership approach to the game is headlined by one key principle: sharing.”
True partnership sees the sharing of accountability for the game’s success as well as sharing equally when the game enjoys growth.
In the spirit of sharing and partnering in the game’s future, we are proposing a new model that establishes a set percentage of the game’s revenue in return for their contribution to the game’s ongoing growth and development – a more than reasonable position given the inherent value players bring to the equation.
A fixed percentage means that players benefit when there is an increase in revenue. Equally, if the size of the AFL pie reduces, the players’ share does too.
This principle creates equal responsibility for the players to perform their role in growing the game. And the spirit behind this principle is one where all football stakeholders – players, past players, clubs, administrators, commercial partners and others – are working together to increase football’s appeal and, ultimately, its commercial value.
Over the coming months, it’s inevitable there will be much discussion around the conditions players and the AFL are seeking to agree on.
Fundamental now, though, is that in-principle agreement is reached early on a revenue-share model that ensures all stakeholders are working in the best interests of football, and for the greater growth of the game. It’s an eminently sensible approach, backed by evidence internationally and within Australia that not only does it work, it’s a big driver of growth.