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CBA to help deliver first-class sporting workplace

The AFL and the AFL Players’ Association have concluded their mid-term review of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA, which was agreed in late 2011 and will continue until the end of the 2016 season, achieved substantial gains towards the delivery of a first class sporting workplace.

The CBA saw significant changes, including; increases in the Total Player Payment and Additional Services Agreement caps, a step change in rookie payments, improved injury compensation, the introduction of full time Player Development Managers at all clubs, the availability of a four hour professional/personal development block for all players, and the introduction of the first ever player retirement annuity scheme in Australian sport.

“We have been able to negotiate further benefits to players, as we continue the push towards delivering a truly first-class sporting workplace.” – Ian Prendergast

Acting CEO Ian Prendergast said, “Notwithstanding these gains, both the AFL and the Players’ Association recognised the need for a mid-term review, given the length of the CBA and the rapidly evolving nature of our industry.

“We have been able to negotiate further benefits to players, as we continue the push towards delivering a truly first-class sporting workplace.

“We have had significant involvement from player representatives throughout this review. The PA would like to thank these players for their support during this process.”

AFL General Counsel, Andrew Dillon, said the mid-term review of the CBA had achieved its objective to ensure Australian Football remains the sporting career of choice for this country’s most talented athletes.

“Negotiations were highly constructive and the review has enhanced the benefits available for both present and past AFL players,” Mr Dillon said.

The changes will take effect to the CBA from 1 November 2014, for the next football season. Key aspects of the mid-term review are outlined below;

Salary Cap Increases – the AFL and PA have agreed to increase each club’s salary cap by $150,000 in both 2015 and 2016, in addition to the increases previously negotiated.  This is an increase of $5.4million across the competition over two years. Most minimum and prescribed payments and allowances set out in the CBA will be adjusted to reflect the increased salary cap.

Importantly, Clubs will now be able to ‘average’ their spending across three seasons. Clubs who do not reach 100 percent of their salary cap in a given year will be able to increase payments in subsequent years.

Competitive Balance Measures Tied to TPP – the AFL has acknowledged the link between competitive balance measures and the salary cap. Any review of these levers (i.e. revenue sharing, caps on football department spending) will coincide with a review of the CBA.

Player Retirement FundAn additional contribution of $7million towards the existing AFL Players’ Player Retirement Fund.

Establishment of Lifetime Health Care Program – over $1million will be contributed to this program over the next two years to provide health care to Players after their careers have finished. Further, delisted players will be entitled to receive short-term compensation for those unable to work due to football injury.

Better travel conditions – Players’ will receive additional leg room on flights and reimbursement of reasonable travel costs when playing interstate matches.

Working Groups – To continue driving first-class sporting workplaces for AFL athletes, working parties have been established to focus on CBA elements including Free Agency and Independent Agreements.