“The AFL competition has been built on the basic philosophy of ensuring supporters of every Club believe that their team has a chance to win in any game, regardless of the Club’s financial strength.”
– AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, June 5, 2014
The AFL yesterday released its Competitive Balance Policy for the 2015 and 2016 seasons, outlining a number of measures the Players’ Association believes will benefit players, supporters and the game for years to come.
“The ‘PA now hopes these key principles… will underpin the approach taken by the Commission to balance the competition in the future.” – Ian Prendergast
AFL Players’ Association Acting CEO Ian Prendergast said, “The AFL Players’ Association welcomes the announcement of the AFL’s Competitive Balance Policy.
“The ‘PA now hopes these key principles and the notion that ‘every Club believes their team has a chance to win in any game, regardless of the Club’s financial strength’ will underpin the approach taken by the Commission to balance the competition in the future.”
Adjustments to clubs’ salary caps, football department spending and revenue sharing were amongst the key changes in the AFL’s policy, which add further support to measures already in place to promote a healthy competition in which each AFL Club has a genuine chance of being successful.
The current draft system plays a part in ensuring no club gains a significant competitive advantage; given almost all players have no say in which club they’re drafted to, the Players’ Association believes it’s important for players to arrive at a club knowing they have a genuine opportunity to be part of a competitive and successful side.
Similarly, the players understand and support the need for a salary cap – to ensure the AFL competition remains a genuine competition and not simply an arms race between the best-resourced and wealthiest clubs – even though they’d be far better off financially without one, as is the case in many overseas competitions such as the English Premier League (in which there was a difference of almost 200 million pounds when comparing the highest-spending club to the lowest-spending club for the 2013-14 season).
Enhancing revenue sharing and putting a ‘soft cap’ on football department spending will help ensure competing clubs are able to grow together, and that the gap between the wealthier and less wealthy clubs is lessened, rather than widened, in the years ahead.
A more detailed breakdown of changes to the AFL’s Competitive Balance Policy can be found here.