Athletes who play in the Australian Football League (AFL) will see their pay increase under a new six-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which links pay to industry revenue streams.
The new arrangement, which was agreed by the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) and the Australian Football League (AFL), will increase total player payments by 20% in 2017, rising to $12.45 million (£7.5 million) per club and $224 million (£13.4 million) in total. There will then be staggered increases of between 1.2% and 2% between 2018 and 2022.
Base pay for rookie players will increase to a minimum of $71,500 (£42,884) in 2017, and the basic wage for a first round draft pick will rise to $88,200 (£52,900) in 2017.
Players will also receive 28% of forecast defined football revenue, and benefit from a review mechanism that captures a share of additional AFL and club revenue. Athletes will be entitled to 28% of AFL revenues and 11.2% of club revenues above forecasts.
Bequests, donations, government grants, non-football revenues, and AFL Women’s revenues are excluded under the pay agreement.
The CBA will also include an extra $6 million (£3.6 million) of funding for players’ retirement accounts, and $13 million (£7.8 million) will be allocated to player development. A total of $250,000 (£149,929) a year will be provided for concussion research, and players will also benefit from improved travel and accommodation conditions.
A Lifetime Health Care programme will also be established for past players. This will provide financial assistance towards joint-related and dental procedures, which are required as a result of players’ football careers.
Richard Goyder, chairman at the AFL, said: “This is a great outcome for our industry, delivering certainty and stability, respecting our players, and allowing the AFL to invest in the future. Our players play the toughest, fastest and most spectacular game in the world, and this agreement rewards their role.
“We are very proud to work in partnership with our players to protect and grow the game, and I thank the Association for [its] strong advocacy on behalf of [its] members, and [its] commitment to the whole game.”
Paul Marsh, chief executive officer at the AFLPA, added: “This CBA rewards the players for the role they’ve played, and continue to play, in making our game great. It also ensures the industry is primed to grow grassroots football, maintain 18 strong clubs and continue to deliver an incredible product for fans.
“The players’ guiding principle through this negotiation was partnership and we’re thrilled to secure a deal that reflects this. The AFL Players’ Association is committed to working with the AFL, AFL clubs, players and other football stakeholders to drive growth and strengthen the AFL industry’s position as the most successful professional sport in Australia.”