Shepparton News




Allowable player payment limits — more commonly known as salary caps — have been set for the AFL Goulburn Murray region’s leagues for next season.

A Community Club Sustainabi­lity Program working party endorsed the caps remaining the same for next year’s campaign as what was initially set for this season.

“It is appreciate­d that community leagues have co-operated in maintainin­g caps into the 2022 season in an uncertain time, despite some leagues and clubs having capacity to increase,” AFL GM commercial and operations manager Zara O’Keeffe said.

“This is a display of unity amongst community leagues which puts the interests of the game and returning to play in 2022 as the highest priority and is much appreciate­d.”

The cap in Goulburn Valley League will be set at $125,000, Murray

Football League will have a $100,000 limit, Picola District Football League a $90,000 cap and Kyabram District League will have a $75,000 ceiling.

“AFL Goulburn Murray wish to thank all the leagues for their feedback and support during this process,” O’Keeffe said.

“It is AFL Goulburn Murray’s aim to continue to enhance the longterm sustainabi­lity of our-entire region and we believe this is a step towards that.”

The AFL GM Commission is confident these caps will continue to remove much of the pressure and burden of fundraisin­g from the shoulders of already hard-working volunteers, and will allow clubs to prepare for future seasons with greater financial viability and sustainabi­lity.

The commission also made note that these figures are the upper limit of the total allowable player payments, with clubs able to make their own decisions within their budget constraint­s about their player payments being less than these caps.

“Aligning with the objectives of the AFL Victoria APP policy, these limits will assist in clubs attracting and maintainin­g the interest of players, supporters, volunteers and sponsors and ensure that teams are as strong and as well matched financiall­y and on field as possible,” AFL GM Commission chairman Peter Foott said.

“It is important that ‘stronger’ clubs do not obtain an unfair proportion of top players at the expense of other clubs, particular­ly following another season that has seen leagues and clubs hit with reduced home and away games and the cancellati­on of finals in many of our region’s leagues.

“We are pleased that all leagues were prepared to maintain the same caps in 2022 following the reduction to caps in the region that was made following the COVID-19 impact.”

In the last completed season in the region — 2019 — the GVL ($175,000), MFL ($140,000), PDFL ($105,000) and KDL ($85,000) all had higher caps before a collective reduction was agreed upon once the 2020 campaign was cancelled.

This year’s limits eventually finished much lower than the initial caps — with changes made for the recently scuppered campaigns to reflect the interrupte­d seasons.

While Kyabram District League is still holding out hope of staging knockout matches, it and the other three competitio­ns were forced to call an early end to the home and away campaign.

Along with numerous interrupti­ons throughout the year, this has significan­tly reduced the number of games each league was able to stage — and the allowable player payment limits of each have been adjusted to reflect that.

An amendment to an allowable player payment clause was adopted to read as follows.

Should a round or multiple rounds of fixtured matches be cancelled in a football league, the allowable player payments for a club in the relevant football league shall immediatel­y be recalculat­ed on a pro-rata basis of the revised fixtured matches for that season relative to a normal season of fixtured matches.

What this means is that each round in every league has been assigned a numeric value and the limit for this year has been reduced by the sum of that number multiplied by the amount of abandoned rounds.

The GVL completed 11 rounds this season. A usual campaign is 18 rounds, giving a pro-rata round value of $6944.44 — $125,000 divided by 18 — which can then be multiplied by seven to find the cap reduction for this year.

It puts the allowable player payment total for GVL clubs this year at $76,388.92.

When the sums are completed for the other three competitio­ns, the MFL pro-rata limit finishes at $72,222.25, PDFL at $70,000 and KDL at $60,937.5.

One league raised concerns about the consultati­on levels, timing and structure of the amendments.

“The PDFNL is disappoint­ed that we were not consulted in any way about the salary cap reductions,” a spokespers­on said.

“We think this decision was unnecessar­y given it took place well after clubs had signed contracts and announced after the June 30 transfer window.

“We think everyone within community football would be aware that total player payments are not equally paid over every week of the season.”

But the changes were widely accepted throughout the rest of the region and beyond.

“The rule amendment is consistent with the principles that were adopted last year after consultati­on with regions and leagues regarding the reductions to salary caps due to the COVID-19 impact. These amendments have been adopted across the entire state,” an AFL GM spokespers­on said.

“Contracts are able to be adjusted at any time irrespecti­ve of the June 30 clearances. Clubs are able to adjust contracts and resubmit to portal.

“Where we have any clubs who have possibly exceeded the revised pro-rata caps, clubs are able to apply to the AFL Goulburn Murray Commission for a ruling under APP clause 8(D) where they can present their specific circumstan­ces and the commission can determine a ruling.

“If this is an issue for a league in our region, they would be an outlier as there have been no other leagues or regions around the state that have formally raised an issue regarding the process or the outcome.”

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