Demetriou quells disquiet on fat deals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Demetriou quells disquiet on fat deals

By Sam Lienert 04/06/2010 02:49:33 PM Comments (0)

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says all players can expect more money as the league expands, as he attempts to quell disquiet over the fat contracts handed to Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt.

Several AFL stars have vented concerns over the multi-million dollar deals used to lure the pair away from rugby league, including Brisbane's Brendan Fevola and Simon Black, West Coast's Dean Cox and Carlton captain Chris Judd.

Hunt, signed to Gold Coast, and Folau, to Greater Western Sydney, are set to earn close to $1 million per season each - more than almost all of the game's current stars - largely from marketing payments to help promote the new clubs.

Demetriou said he understood consternation among current players, although he believed it was fuelled by inflated reports about the size of their contracts.

But the league boss, who earlier in the week wrote to players and club officials to explain the reasons behind the swoops on rugby league, was confident most in the AFL understood the benefits.

"I think people understand this is a unique situation with two new clubs coming into the competition," Demetriou told Melbourne's radio 3AW.

"In order to actually build these clubs they'll have to be innovative, they've targeted young players through the list concessions, they're going to have one great rugby league player (each) in their ranks.

"What then tends to happen, we hope, as we go into the next broadcast rights, is that we've got a ninth game (per round) we think can add value to our rights with these two new teams coming in.

"And ultimately everyone will share in the upside, the players in particular, the clubs, this is all part of growing the pie.

"What we've seen is when we've added teams to the competition in the past it's always grown the revenue for everybody."

The next five-year deal, set to be negotiated this year but come in to effect in 2012, when GWS will become the 18th club, is expected to fetch more than $1 billion, up from the current $780 million.

Demetriou said it would logically follow that player payments should rise in proportion.

"If we get an upside in the rights of course they do, they are the great contributors on the field, the entertainers, they absolutely should share in the upside," he said.

"We've always tried to find the right balance, when you achieve a result in the rights ... the players are entitled to their fair share and if you get an increase, they should share in the increase."

Demetriou also said the AFL would welcome more rugby league converts into their ranks, although he said the league was not actively targeting them.

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