Riverina and Farrer League clubs have agreed to an initial salary cap of $100,000 for next season, as a generous starting point in the battle to rein in player payments.
The competitions agreed to the initial six-figure limit at league meetings this week.
“It’s a ‘soft’ cap,” Paul Habel, AFL Southern NSW Community Football Manager, said.
“The Hume League went to 100k but there are surrounding leagues on $75-$80,000. I’m certain that the figure would then be considered to be lowered (for 2019) based on what information we gather next season.”
AFL NSW/ACT wants a regional salary cap approach from the neighbouring leagues, to tie in with the player points system.
Habel said the AFL will provide education to clubs, which will be required to submit player payments figures ahead of next season.
“The AFL will work with clubs whether individually or running sessions,” Habel said. “We’ll ensure the education is there and the process will be supported by AFL Riverina.”
Clubs have expressed concern about policing the limit but officials point out the cap is designed to protect the clubs. More than 70 percent of AFL Riverina and Hume League clubs recently said current player payments are unsustainable.
“What we’re doing is giving clubs the ability to own how much they pay players,” Habel said.
“It’s being introduced with ownership from the clubs. The people that need to stop the cash payments are the clubs, who have identified it as being unsustainable (financially) and also on volunteers to raise funds.”
Fifteen of 18 AFL Riverina clubs have previously said they’d spend less than $90,000 in 2017.
Only two Farrer League clubs anticipated they’d commit between $90,000 and $100,000.
One Riverina League club had expected to pay out more than $110,000 this year.
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