Clubs will back AFL 'to the hilt' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Clubs will back AFL 'to the hilt'

By Roger Vaughan 09/06/2011 07:31:54 PM Comments (0)

The AFL clubs will back the league "to the hilt" in the negotiations with the players over how the game's TV rights goldmine should be divided.

The players have indicated they want a 25 per cent share of the AFL's record $1.25 billion broadcast rights agreement, a five-year deal that starts next year.

But the negotiations between the league and the AFL Players' Association over the collective bargaining agreement is set to be a tough one, with AFL bosses already making it clear that they do not agree with the players' claim.

The 17 club presidents met with the AFL in Melbourne on Thursday and unanimously supported the league ahead of the negotiations.

"The AFL received complete backing from all the clubs to continue to negotiate with the players' association," said one club boss, who did not wish to be named.

"There's a huge gap at the moment between the two parties and the AFL clubs strongly support the AFL stance.

"If you agree to what they say, they'd take all the money - all the increases go to the players, which is just not going to work.

"No-one will support that and we heard pretty strong words from the AFL - all the clubs support them to the hilt."

Before the meeting, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and St Kilda counterpart Greg Westaway had said the players were not giving enough consideration to club needs in their pay increase demands.

McGuire was quoted in the Herald Sun as saying a flat 25 per cent claim "doesn't make any sense to me".

The players association is saying the percentage is only meant as a guide.

Also in Thursday's meeting, it is understood the league confirmed there would be no restrictions placed on football department spending at each club.

There are growing concerns about the gap in spending between traditional AFL powerhouses such as reigning premiers Collingwood and strugglers like Port Adelaide.

There has been some speculation about a limit on football spending at each club, along the same lines as the current player salary cap.

But the AFL has apparently made it clear it would prefer instead to continue trying to lessen the financial gap between the richer and poorer clubs.

That will mean the continuation of the annual special distribution of finances to clubs who are struggling off the field.

About six clubs each year receive special financial assistance from the AFL, with the TV rights bonanza meaning that the league can continue to subsidise the game's strugglers.

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