AFL Players’ Association CEO Matt Finnis appeared on 1116 SEN’s Morning Glory on Tuesday to discuss equalisation, football department spending and the challenges surrounding the current total player payment model.
Finnis explained the thinking behind the “single cap” on total football department spending – an equalisation model outlined in The Age on Tuesday.
“When you have one expense in a football department capped and nothing else is, sometimes you can get perverse outcomes,” Finnis said.
“What we’ve been seeing is there’s been so much investment made into other areas – particularly by the bigger clubs who could afford to spend some more but can’t spend it on their players – it’s created a bit of an arms race.”
Finnis said the steady increase in football department spending in recent years is concerning, as it makes for an uneven competition.
“It’s been clearly shown that the amount clubs are spending on their football programs is having an impact on the on-field results,” Finnis explained.
“We’re looking at a range of solutions to try to deal with that. One of those, we think, is to start looking at total spend on football in a global sense. It makes sense to look at the ratio of what players receive compared to all the other investments a club make.”
Though some have suggested such a model would result in players receiving the bulk of football departments’ total spending, Finnis said it would be more likely to simply strike a fair balance.
“If the average football department spend is about 18 million dollars, I’m sure the players wouldn’t get 17 of that,” Finnis said.
“Football clubs are very professional environments these days. I’m sure what the market would determine is [from a club’s perspective], ‘where is our best investment going to be to achieve the right outcome?’
“We’ve got some situations where clubs are spending about 45 percent of their total football department spend on players, which in any benchmark around the world is a bit out of whack.
“Having said that, we also know a lot of these positions in football departments are coaches who are former players. That provides a great career path for many of our members, so it’s [about finding a healthy] balance. We haven’t got the balance right at the moment, and we need to put in place some reforms that will ensure we have a balance more on par going forward.”
The Players’ Association CEO also explained that the ‘PA’s stance on equalisation is about more than just securing a better financial outcome for current players.
“We have a draft where the players are put in a lottery and they go to the club that calls their name,” he said.
“We’ve got to ensure that every player that gets drafted has an equal chance of having a successful career.”
The full interview can be found below.
If you were in charge, how would you implement equalisation? Leave your suggestions in the comments box below.