AFL could deal with clubs first - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL could deal with clubs first

Roger Vaughan 15/06/2011 06:55:21 PM Comments (0)

The AFL has confirmed it is prepared to deal with the clubs first if the impasse with the players association over a new pay deal continues.

While league chief executive Andrew Demetriou remained confident a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) would be struck soon, he said clubs also had to know what share they would receive from the new television rights bonanza.

The AFL Players' Association wants a set percentage of the game's total revenue as part of the next CBA, but the AFL are adamant that will not happen.

The league met the clubs last Thursday and the presidents strongly backed the game's administration over the CBA negotiations.

The AFL also told the clubs that they could move ahead of the players in the funding allocations.

"Our preference is to do a deal with the players first, but clubs have to start planning for the next few years. We need to give them some certainty about their distribution," Demetriou said.

"That's something we'll look at and look at very seriously."

Demetriou added he was "pretty confident" a new five-year CBA would be in place before the end of October.

Demetriou was speaking after the league's mid-season media briefing.

Key features of the league's review included:

- Attendances are down two per cent on last season, but there have been three fewer games this year and the league is confident this year's crowds will eventually be three per cent ahead.

- Gold Coast continue to impress the league, particularly with their off-field performance and the successful Carrara Stadium redevelopment.

- Club memberships already exceed last year's figures, even without taking Gold Coast into account. Up to May, total memberships were 622,960, or 633,825 including the Suns. The total figure at the June deadline last year was 614,251.

- The AFL is pleased with the new substitute rule, saying it is contributing to less congestion around stoppages and a fairer game.

In the 17 games this year where an injury has forced a substitution by quarter time, the affected team has won 11 times.

- Average interchanges are 116.4 per game, down from 117.1 last year.

- Injuries are slightly down on last year, but the AFL acknowledges it will take a season or two to see if that trend is definite.

- AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson said they were watching the contentious advantage rule "very closely", but said there had been fewer contentious incidents in the last couple of rounds.

- Demetriou said the AFL's preference remained that the different football codes did not schedule games against each other.

Gold Coast will host Collingwood on July 23, the same day that the nearby Gold Coast Titans play a NRL match against the North Queensland Cowboys.

"Our view has always been, rightly or wrongly, that we would prefer not to schedule games against other codes because, ultimately, you just cannibalise each other," Demetriou said.

"I can't speak for the NRL. What they choose to do is entirely up to them.

"That (having two games on the same day) is an unfortunate thing for the Gold Coast public, but I'm backing we're going to get a great crowd at Gold Coast-Collingwood."

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