Swimmers to get guaranteed income - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swimmers to get guaranteed income

By Todd Balym 23/02/2006 06:47:17 PM Comments (0)

Australia's elite swimmers are just months away from having a guaranteed income after the consumer watchdog gave draft approval to a collective bargaining proposal.

The Australian Swimmers Association (ASA) sought authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to allow it to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of payments made by governing body Swimming Australia (SA) Limited to eligible swimmers.

ASA general manager Regan Sterry said the proposal is for the nation's top 100 swimmers to be contracted to and paid by SA.

Currently about 60 swimmers receive grants from a pool of $450,000 and are not obliged to do anything in return.

But under the proposed new agreement those payments would increase, and continue to do so with the growth of the sport, while the swimmers will have contracted responsibilities.

It is believed swimming will be the first Olympic-based sport to adopt such an agreement and Sterry said the swimmers are excited about the prospect.

"I think everybody will be happy with this agreement because it brings certainty to their payments," said Sterry.

"It is so the swimmers can be locked in and plan for their own futures.

"They would still be a long way from being professional. Even the top swimmers won't have a living size wage.

"The sport cannot afford those sort of prices but we hope to improve that situation as the sport improves."

Sterry said ASA had designed its proposal on other Collective Bargaining Agreements from professional sports such as football and basketball, although the swimmers will remain individuals and not employees.

It is hoped the contractual agreements will help spread the current corporate and development workload of the swimmers.

Currently only swimmers who have individual contracts with sponsors or volunteer their own time make appearances on behalf of the sport.

"We would put a structure and program in place to make sure everybody is contributing," said Sterry.

"The swimmers are quite excited about the structure and what legacy they can leave the sport."

Negotiations between ASA and SA will continue throughout next month's Commonwealth Games with a view to having a deal finalised by the end of March when it will be put to the ACCC for final approval.

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