The AFL and AFL Players Association (AFLPA) have today announced a new and historic joint Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has been signed.
For the first time, a single CBA covers both the AFL and AFLW players.
The AFL men’s competition will see an uplift of 10 per cent in Total Player Payments, effective immediately and back paid for the 2023 Season.
After an historic 94 per cent pay increase in 2022, all AFLW players will now receive an additional 29 per cent uplift for the current 2023 NAB AFLW Season.
The average AFLW Player pay will immediately increase from $46,000 to $60,000 in 2023, then up to $82,000 by 2027.
Under the revised CBA, it is estimated that more than 90 of the top AFLW players will be paid more than $100,000 for the 2023 season (inclusive of ASA’s) – up from 40 players last season (Season Seven) and 12 players in Season Six.
The five-year deal will see a total AFLW player payment uplift of 77 per cent by 2027 across all 540 players – the largest total investment in women’s sport of any domestic league.
All up the combined AFL and AFLW agreement will see players receive 31.7 per cent of all assessable football revenue.
The average men’s salary in 2027 will increase to approximately $519,000.
Importantly, the past players injury and hardship fund will receive a $40 million boost, with $60 million invested in the fund over five years - up from $20 million in the last CBA - to ensure that more players, including those suffering long-term impacts of concussion, are able to access funding to support them post-career.
The agreement will also see more five-day breaks (three per club) to allow greater AFL fixture flexibility, including ability to schedule more Thursday night matches, along with increased media access to players in the lead up to matches to better market the game to members and supporters who have attended games and bought memberships in record numbers this year.
Included in the CBA is discussions to continue with clubs and the AFLPA on a Mid-season trade period for the AFL Competition. The details of if, when and how that mechanism is to potentially work is to be formally worked through between the AFL, AFLPA and the clubs over the coming months.
AFLW players will receive increased certainty with 12-month contracts implemented, and the ability to sign multi-year contracts – the same as the men’s AFL competition.
A world leading 12-month pregnancy policy, commencing from six weeks before a player’s due date, will be immediately introduced as will increased investment into player support and welfare.
Player relocation and travel benefits will be now equitable for both AFL and AFLW players who relocate states.
The AFLW season length will also increase with the NAB AFLW season expanding to 12 home and away rounds by 2025, and potentially 14 home and away rounds during the term of the deal, based on achievement of key audience metrics.
The key audience metrics will be modelled off metrics achieved in the Season Two (2018) which at its most basic level saw on average 6,000 fans a game and 100,000 broadcast viewers. The AFL and AFLPA will now work together on executing an accelerated marketing plan designed to build greater support for the AFLW competition.
The pay uplift and increased season length comes on the back of the recent equal prizemoney announcement for AFL and AFLW with a total $1.1 million dollars to be split across the players of the final’s teams, almost double the $623,922 from last season.
The increased prizemoney is in addition to the $1 million in prizemoney for McClelland Trophy Champion Club award, with the players share of this prizemoney to shared equally club’s AFL and AFLW players.
The AFL and AFLPA will also revamp the Industry Governance Committee (IGC) to enhance Player Development and – with the AFL, AFLPA and the clubs – set up a committee to recommend improvements to ensure safer, more inclusive environments all.
“On behalf of the AFL, I want to thank the AFLPA, and particularly CEO Paul Marsh for his leadership and for the input from the players. The new CBA provides certainty to the players for both competitions, it recognises their impact and contribution in continuing to make sure we have the greatest game in the world,” AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said.
“Our AFLW players receive another immediate boost after an historic 94 per cent increase last season, and the opportunity is ahead of the competition to continue to grow in length if we can reach some key support metrics that have been achieved before. Together we will focus on expanding crowds and TV audience for the women’s competition while working to engage more women and girls to take up football.
AFL CEO-elect Andrew Dillon said key outputs from the CBA will allow improved care for past players.
“Our AFL players continue to be the best paid sportspeople for a domestic competition in the country, and the contribution to the injury and hardship fund allows both the AFL and AFLPA to better assist our past players who may be in need, particularly those who are suffering the long-term impact of concussion,” Mr Dillon said.
Mr Dillon also acknowledged improved fixturing options for clubs and fans with the introduction of another five-day break for clubs in season.
“The five-day break flexibility allows us to fixture more Thursday night matches as we indicated in the last broadcast deal.
“While bringing together men and women in the one agreement has taken time, ultimately the AFL and AFLPA wanted the same thing – that is to ensure the players are well remunerated, their development is well resourced, their welfare is continued to be prioritised and we can still continue to keep the game affordable and accessible for fans and continue to grow and support footy at every level.
“We have seen supporters flock to our game in record numbers this year and we now have a record one in 21 Australians who are members of an AFL club off the back of one of the greatest-ever AFL seasons, which is a testament to the players and the clubs.”
AFLPA CEO, Paul Marsh said “This is a transformative and historic Collective Bargaining Agreement for players, past and present, and the game.
“This CBA presented an opportunity to bring AFL and AFLW players into one joint agreement and we are thrilled to have reached an outcome that enshrines all players as true partners in the game.
“While the financial aspects of this agreement are vital and we are thrilled at the outcome achieved, this was much more than a pay deal.
“We believed this deal provided an opportunity for the AFL industry to significantly advance the AFLW competition, lead the way in respect to the support provided to past and present players, continue to improve the health and safety of players and work more proactively and collaboratively in areas relating to gender and race. This deal achieves all of these objectives.
“I’d like to thank all of our players for their patience and support, and especially our Board members through the leadership of President Patrick Dangerfield and Chair Andrew Twaits, as well as player leaders and delegates for dedicating their time, energy, and guidance during these negotiations. I’d also like to thank all of our staff at the AFLPA for the significant amount of work they have done throughout this process.
“I’d also like to acknowledge and thank the AFL, led by Gillon and now Andrew, for their partnership and collaboration. On behalf of all AFLPA members, I congratulate Gill for the significant contribution he has made as CEO of the AFL and wish Andrew every success in his new role.
“The players have overwhelmingly voted in support of this CBA and we believe this is a deal that speaks strongly to how highly the industry values their contribution.”
- 29% pay uplift for AFLW players effective immediately.
- AFLW season length to increase to 12 rounds in 2025, potentially 14 rounds in 2027 based on achieving key metrics
- The AFLW Total Player Payments inclusive of Base amount is more than $32.3 million for 2023, compared to $25 million for Season Seven and $10.4 million in Season Six.
- Clubs will continue to be required to ensure there are minimum levels of medical, physical preparation and high-performance staff resourcing to allow AFLW players to prepare for matches and training sessions more efficiently.
- AFLW players will receive increased certainty with 12-month contracts implemented, and the ability to sign multi-year contracts – the same as the men’s AFL competition.
- A world leading 12-month pregnancy policy, commencing from six weeks before a player’s due date, will be immediately introduced as will increased investment into player support and welfare.
- 10% increase in base pay in 2023.
- 37% increase in pay over the life of the deal.
- Average player salary to increase from $387,000 in 2022 to $519,000 in 2027.
- Three-year contracts for first round draftees
- Regulated payments for third year players
- Player leave has increased based on the last CBA.
- Five-day breaks provide greater flexibility in fixturing – including more Thursday night games
- Injury and hardship fund ($40 million boost) - $60 million over five years, up from $20 million
- Discussions on a mid-season trade period to continue with clubs
- Increased access to players for media and broadcast via new broadcast policy to be introduced.
- All AFL players in the 23 named from the week before to be available to media in the week after their match.
- Player relocation and travel benefits will be equitable for both AFL and AFLW players who relocate states.
- A joint committee will be set up by the AFL and AFLPA to ensure a safe working environment for all players.