AFL Players’ president Patrick Dangerfield has called for patience as the board continues to work with the AFL in determining an altered pay structure for players in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The AFLPA’s board, on behalf of the players, has offered to take a 50 per cent pay reduction over the next two months to assist the League as it begins the process of trying to resolve a significant financial shortfall caused by the suspension of the season.
Speaking with Gerard Whateley on Melbourne radio station, SEN, Dangerfield said it was important for people to understand that the players needed all the relevant information on hand while working through any further pay cuts.
“The criticism has been extreme in terms of what we cop on a daily basis, but I’d ask for people to judge us on what the end agreement is,” Dangerfield said.
“Judge us at the end of the process once we’ve resolved it and it’s a fair position that we reach rather than this hysterical commentary that we’re seeing at the moment.”
Dangerfield was left disappointed by Leigh Matthews’ comments, after the AFL legend said he “had lost respect for the playing group”.
The AFLPA president said a decision on where the players took this from a financial point of view beyond May 31 would be reached once all the information was available.
“It’s been pitched as a pay war when that’s not the case,” he said.
“The facts are that we only know what the next two months look like. This has been rapidly evolving and that’s why we’ve volunteered the 50 per cent (pay cut) at this stage because we don’t know (what’s ahead).
“Are we prepared to take longer term cuts? Absolutely. But we need a bit more information in regards to where the season is going, the financial (implications) of the season so that we can make the right decisions for the players but also the game.
“We need that information and we haven’t got it yet.”
The Geelong superstar said it was important to note that the vast individual circumstances pertaining to all members of the playing group would be taken into account before any agreement with the League is reached.
Some players rely on match payments for the bulk of their salaries, whereas others are on base payments and are more financially secure.
“As a PA, we have a responsibility to the game absolutely but we have a responsibility that we’re looking after our players and their families who are an extension of themselves,” he said.
“Balancing individual circumstances from all our players is a really difficult one, because there’s players that are just starting in the game, there’s players that have been in there a long time who have a mortgage, are supporting kids, they’re supporting grandparents and cousins and aunties and uncles.
“It’s got to be the right decision that we come to. In order to come to a resolution, we need to understand and have the information in front of us in order to make those decisions.”