Lev­el­ling play­ing field

Hills Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Kristie Lim

THE WA Am­a­teur Foot­ball League will fol­low Vic­to­rian and South Aus­tralian com­mu­nity leagues’ foot­steps to in­tro­duce a player points sys­tem (PPS) in 2019 in a bid to re­duce the in­cen­tive to pay play­ers.

In May, the WAAFL board re­leased rec­om­men­da­tions for feed­back for a sys­tem to limit player in­duce­ments to change clubs and re­duce the pay­ment of play­ers to clubs.

Rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude ap­ply­ing the sys­tem to men’s league grades from A down to C4.

Another rec­om­men­da­tion is that a team which ex­ceeds the to­tal team points cap or makes a false or in­cor­rect dec­la­ra­tion about a player’s point al­lo­ca­tion lose the match and be pe­nalised for play­ing an in­el­i­gi­ble player.

A PPS pri­mar­ily re­stricts clubs from play­ing a higher num­ber of elite play­ers.

This is achieved by each player be­ing as­signed points based on their pre­vi­ous play­ing his­tory within a to­tal team points cap.

Gen­eral man­ager David Arm­strong said the league started look­ing at a PPS in 2015 in re­sponse to club feed­back about play­ers al­legedly be­ing paid, which was against the rules.

But he was un­sure about the range of pay­ments.

“The player points con­cept is now be­ing ex­plored by the WA Foot­ball Com­mis­sion at a whole-of-foot­ball level, in­clud­ing the WA Coun­try Foot­ball League and the WAAFL,” he said.

“There are many ru­mours of play­ers be­ing paid in the WAAFL. How­ever in the last five years only three clubs have been found through our in­tegrity in­ves­ti­ga­tions to have breached our am­a­teur sta­tus.”

Mr Arm­strong said the sys­tem was not linked to any salary cap, as the league re­mained as an am­a­teur com­pe­ti­tion which ef­fec­tively had no salary cap.

He said the ben­e­fits of a PPS were in­creased trans­parency in re­cruit­ment, clubs be­ing en­cour­aged to de­velop and re­tain lo­cal play­ers, and AFL and WAFL play­ers feel­ing en­cour­aged to re­turn to their orig­i­nal am­a­teur club.

The league is also propos­ing to change its name to the Perth Footy League. It would be the fifth name change in 97 years.

“The WAAFL has trans­formed from a six-team se­nior men’s com­pe­ti­tion in 1922 to now be 175 se­nior men’s, 51 colts, 16 se­nior women’s and nine all abil­i­ties teams,” Mr Arm­strong said.

“The Perth Footy League name is con­tem­po­rary and re­flects this trans­for­ma­tion of where we are – in Perth; what we do – play footy; and how we do it – a league.”

WAAFL gen­eral man­ager David Arm­strong

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