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Players from all clubs gather for conference

Players from around the country gathered in Melbourne over the weekend with representatives from each club to attend the annual AFL Players’ Association Directors and Delegates conference.

The conference is a unique opportunity for the Association’s Executive to meet and discuss issues facing the organisation and the wider AFL industry.

The participation of all players continues to showcase the unified commitment since the landmark Directors and Delegates conference that was held in 2011, in which the event saw the historic current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the AFL and AFL Players’ Association ratified.

The strong relationship and unity between the board, club delegates and the playing group as a whole was demonstrated again through the current negotiation process of the collective bargaining agreement review, conducted this year.

“To have representatives from all teams attend is testament to the importance of this event” – Luke Ball

This year’s Directors and Delegates conference focussed on a range of issues across the weekend, with players being united in their view that;

Equalisation needs to remain a priority for the game, with the impact of the competitive balance changes introduced over the next two years needing to be monitored closely to determine whether they are having the desired effect.

The next CBA negotiations need to deliver a fair share of industry revenue and a truly first class sporting workplace to players.

Free Agency
Free Agency has delivered a range of benefits to players and the game and we should work towards further improving the current system.

Representative football
Representative football remains something players wish to explore further with the AFL and Clubs, particularly in light of the successful International Rules game in Perth recently.

There remains genuine concerns about the ever increasing demands on players, including during their leave periods, and the impact this level of control is having on their wellbeing.

Players’ Association President Luke Ball said, “The Directors and Delegates conference is a great opportunity for all the guys across the competition to get together and discuss issues that impact us a group. To have representatives from all teams attend is testament to the importance of this event.”

Players’ Association CEO Paul Marsh added that it was a terrific conference, with a number of constructive discussions taking place amongst the playing group.

“We got into discussions around the CBA negotiations, free agency, equalisation, and Mark Evans came out and presented from the AFL’s perspective.

“We also did some work on ethical decision making and player development, so it was a very broad conference and I’ve got to say, I was extremely impressed with the professionalism of the delegates. There’s some extremely smart guys involved who are passionate about the game and the playing group, so it was a terrific few days,” Paul said.

Six new club delegates were also announced at this week’s AFL Players’ Association Directors and Delegates conference.

Click here for the full list of the AFL Players’ Association Board.

Click here for the full list of the AFL Players’ Association Delegates.

Adelaide’s Sam Kerridge, Dylan Addison from GWS, Tom McDonald from Melbourne, David Astbury from Richmond have all joined the body of delegates as one of two representatives from each AFL club, with Sam Docherty and Ed Curnow representing Carlton. The role of a club delegates provide a crucial link between the board of the Players’ Association and the remaining 40 odd players at their respective clubs.