Players reject $1.1 billion, says AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Players reject $1.1 billion, says AFL

Guy Hand 30/06/2011 07:07:48 PM Comments (0)

The AFL says players have rejected a $1.1 billion pay deal over the next five years, holding out for more under a fixed percentage agreement.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou revealed the amount had been offered to the players to either take as salary up front or as part-wage, part-retirement plan.

But instead the players remain steadfast in their demand for a percentage of between 25 and 27 per cent of total AFL revenue.

While those cash demands in the short-term are not significantly higher than what the AFL is offering, the players also want a three-year deal rather than a five-year agreement.

And the fixed percentage deal would allow their coffers to swell with any increase in total AFL revenue in future years.

The $1.1 billion on the table is effectively the entire cash component of the league's recent broadcast rights deal.

Demetriou said he would be happy to address players directly on the issue, and on the AFL's opposition to a percentage-based pay deal.

"The more we can inform them the better," Demetriou said.

"The package we've offered is around the $1.1 billion (mark) and that really equates to what the broadcast rights cash component is."

The $1.1 billion is around $300 million more than players receive under the current five-year collective bargaining agreement.

But that bigger pie must cater for an extra 80 to 90 players with the addition of expansion clubs Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney.

Players all but ruled out strike action at a meeting in Melbourne on Wednesday night, although they remain united in their demands for a percentage-based cut of cash.

Demetriou said he believed agreement would eventually be reached between the league and players' union.

But he said while players would and should get more money, the needs of clubs, those at the grassroots level and supporters needed to be balanced against that.

"I'm philosophically opposed to percentages. I've always been a believer in making sure the players get treated fairly," said Demetriou, a former head of the players' union.

"They get the largest share of our stakeholders, and the largest share of any upside that we've received.

"They are our principles. You hope that's a fair outcome.

"The game should afford the players what the game can afford."

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