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Players seeking more protection

By Greg Denham 08/04/2003 06:07:01 PM Comments (0)

AFL players will focus on contractual protection rather than a significant wage increase in the next Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The two most important agenda items the players union will pursue involve the integrity of player contracts.

The AFL Players Association and the AFL executive held preliminary discussions on Monday with the intention of starting negotiations at the end of the month for a new three-year agreement starting in 2004.

It would end at the same time as the current broadcast arrangement.

The AFLPA will seek that only uncontracted players be eligible to be traded post-season, and that clubs cannot force player-payment cuts after the start of the draft system in October.

After being granted seven per cent rises in total player payments following a review of the CBA for 2002 and 2003, the AFL and the players union are expected to settle on a 2-3 per cent increase in line with the CPI for this agreement.

This year's total player payments are more than $95 million with a general salary cap for each club of $5.94 million.

The AFLPA will insist that their share of total football revenue will not decrease from its current standing of almost 25 per cent.

AFL chief executive Wayne Jackson and general manager of football operations Andrew Demetriou will take advice from their CBA working party.

AFLPA chief executive Rob Kerr said the events of late last year during the player-exchange period and severe player pay cuts demanded by the Western Bulldogs and Carlton had forced players to seek better protection.

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