Players reject AFL's pay offer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Players reject AFL's pay offer

By Guy Hand and Sam Lienert 15/09/2011 05:34:37 PM Comments (0)

AFL players say they are not seeking more money from the league despite rejecting a $1.144 billion pay offer on Thursday.

The players' union wants a three-year deal rather than the five offered by the AFL - an agreement it says would offer more certainty and flexibility for the players.

AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said he was surprised by the union's rejection of the offer at a meeting on Thursday.

The AFL had said it was the final offer - a deal which would raise the average player's salary to more than $250,000 next year and to more than $300,000 a season by 2016.

But the players, who have dropped one of their key demands for a fixed percentage of revenue, say in return they want a length of deal in line with other wage agreements.

AFL Players' Association (AFLPA) chief executive Matt Finnis said any financial demands under a three-year deal were "within the financial parameters" of the league's five-year offer.

He rejected claims they were asking for more money.

Finnis said the players were seeking six, six and seven per cent increases over the life of the agreement, as opposed to the AFL's 11, five and three in the first three years of their offer.

"The players' response did not ask for more money," Finnis said.

"The players directed the association to request a three-year deal.

"In the absence of a percentage of revenue arrangement, a three-year deal gives the players more certainty that their share of the game's rewards will not drop significantly over time.

"We still believe a way forward can be found."

Finnis again talked down the prospect of industrial action affecting the finals or Brownlow Medal night, with talks between the two parties to continue.

The league is scheduled to meet the clubs on September 26 to discuss their funding arrangements for the next five years.

The current collective bargaining agreement expires on October 31 and will remain in place until either party formally terminates it.

Demetriou said a five-year arrangement was important for the league's financial security and planning.

All other stakeholders operated on five-year timeframes, Demetriou said.

"We told the AFLPA there is no more money and, today, what they have come back with will cost the industry more money," Demetriou said."

"We are very surprised and disappointed with today's decision.

"We thought it was a fair and generous offer. We believe it's the best offer the game can afford."

But Demetriou refused to label the players greedy.

"I don't think it's greed. It just requires a lot more understanding," he said.

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