Camperdown Chronicle
AFL Western District announces salary caps

SALARY caps of local football leagues will drop for the next three seasons with AFL Western District revealing the total amount clubs can spend.

The Hampden, Warrnambool and District, Mininera and District and South West district leagues caps for seasons 2021 to 2023 were unveiled on Monday.

Commercial and operations manager Matthew Ross said the impacts of COVID-19 made it a prudent time to reduce salary caps to alleviate pressure on clubs’ fundraising endeavours.

He said considering 54 per cent of businesses had reported revenue drops between 25 and 75 per cent, a fine balance needed to be struck between reducing the financial pressure on each club and hindering their ability to recruit  and retain players.

“Given the cancellation of community sport had brought forward the recruiting activities of our clubs, it was appropriate to ensure that the decision on salary caps was communicated earlier than other ordinary years,” Ross said.

“Given the uncertain economic period we are in, it was appropriate to give some future direction on the period covering 2021 – 2023 so that clubs can future plan. 

“The 2022 – 2023 caps will be subject to review should conditions substantially change between now and then.”

Under the changes, the Hampden league cap will drop from its previous figure of $140,000 to $110,000 for season 2021.

It will then drop five per cent to $104,500 for season 2022 and another five per cent to $99,275 in season 2023.

The Warrnambool and District and South West District league caps will both drop from $90,000 to $70,000 in 2021, with subsequent drops to bring caps to $66,500 in 2022 and $63,175 in 2023.

The Mininera and District league cap will stay at $70,000 and is the only cap to be fixed for the next three years due to travel.

Ross said numerous discussions with club and league leaders over the past few months assisted AFL Western District in guiding the direction of the salary cap.

A discussion document was also pieced together.

“The discussion document considered a variety of factors in determining salary caps but placed an emphasis on the unique conditions experienced by each league across the district as well as considering the differences in season lengths for each competition which impacts the ‘per game’ approach to player payments and negotiations,” Ross said.

“Travel was considered to be the biggest variance experienced between leagues. Data was captured on the travel undertaken by approximately 1600 players across the four senior men’s competitions in the respective 2019 home and away seasons.”

With the cancellation of this year’s season, the salary cap for 2020 has been adjusted to a nominal amount of $5000 for any clubs who have already made payments or provided items of value such as the provision of apparel to players.

However, any club which has paid over the $5000 will be required to lodge a request to AFL Western District for an exemption for 2020.