AFL to strike new deal with coaches - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL to strike new deal with coaches

By Sam Lienert 10/04/2008 07:14:00 PM Comments (0)

The AFL will establish a set of minimum terms and conditions under which all clubs must employ their coaches, as part of what it says is a commitment by the league to treat coaches with more respect.

The initiative was announced after a presentation by AFL coaches' association (AFLCA) chief executive Neale Daniher to a meeting of league officials and the 16 club chief executives in Melbourne on Thursday.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said the exact nature of the new set of terms was still to be worked out, but all clubs and the league agreed that coaches needed to be treated in a more "respectful" manner.

It comes after Daniher last month publicly said there was a need for coaches and the AFL to work together better.

That followed widespread criticism by coaches over a cap on interchanges during the pre-season competition, with several complaining that there had been a lack of consultation from the AFL over that and other rule-related issues.

"The clubs agreed that they would like the AFL to act on their behalf to come up with a minimum set of terms and conditions for coaches quite separate to that they negotiate as clubs when they organise their own packages," Demetriou said.

"I think that's significant, because in the past the coaches have been left to their own devices, which I think has been a negative for them.

"Not that that's been exploited, but I do think it's a great step forward when all of us, AFL and clubs, believe we should be engaging with coaches in a much more formal way, which hopefully can bring some benefits for them."

Demetriou said the league would negotiate with Daniher and recently-appointed AFLCA president Kevin Sheedy over the terms of the new agreement.

The AFL also updated clubs on their plans to create expansion teams on the Gold Coast and western Sydney.

Demetriou said it was still to be decided how the new teams would create their playing lists, with consultation needed on how they would acquire experienced players from existing clubs, what draft concessions they would be given and whether they would be given priority access to recruiting zones in their areas.

The league's football operations manager Adrian Anderson, legal services manager Andrew Dillon and development manager David Matthews will consult with the chief executives, coaches, football managers and recruiting managers of all clubs, starting from next week.

Demetriou also said while the new Queensland team is slated to join the AFL in 2011, opinions differed on whether the new Sydney club should join in the same season, or whether there should temporarily be a 17-team competition.

Brisbane chief executive Michael Bowers said there was general acceptance that the new clubs had to be established on a firm competitive footing, noting the league could not afford to "do a Brisbane Bears again", in reference to his own club's troubled origins.

He said the Lions were willing to contemplate the new Gold Coast club having special access to young Queensland players.

"Access to local talent is something the Brisbane Lions have been talking about for a number of years, that we would have liked," Bowers said.

"It's very hard for us to take that cap off now and say that even though we wanted it, we don't want someone else to get it."

Meanwhile, Demetriou said the AFL was committed to increasing the number of grand final tickets available to members of the two competing clubs by about 5,000 to 26,000.

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