Pay bonus for AFL players after $70m revenue boost

AFL players are poised to get a pay bonus after the league confirmed revenues were up $70 million on forecasts over the past two-and-a-half years.

The players will receive a percentage of the extra $70 million in revenue paid into the retirement fund, which will likely translate to tens of millions in extra income.

The money comes after the AFL agreed at the time of the last collective bargaining agreement to review forecasts midway through the CBA.

The last CBA tied player wages for the first time to a percentage of AFL revenue.

Players had previously complained that the AFL always based their CBA pay rises on low revenue projections that proved to be significantly lower than the reality at the end of the agreement.

An audit of AFL revenue midway through the latest CBA confirmed the increase in revenue. The percentage of the the extra revenue will only translate to modest extra amount per player when distributed through the retirement fund.

The amount of the distribution per players from the fund after retirement are decided based on a formula including years of service.

The six-year CBA signed in 2017 allocated $1.84 billion to players for wages, investments in player development, injury and hardship support, marketing activities and as well as the past players' Player Retirement Scheme.

The total player payments pool increased by 20 per cent in 2017, to $12.45 million per club ($224m in total), with increases of 1.2%, 1.3%, 2%, 2%, 2% in years 2018-2022.

Under the latest CBA structure players earned 28 per cent of the forecasts of defined football revenue.

A new review mechanism was set up to look at other additional AFL and club revenues. Players were to receive 28% of any extra AFL revenues and 11.2% of club revenues above the forecasts.

AFL and club revenues were to be reviewed after year three and year six of the current CBA.

The AFL player agents conference was told on Tuesday that the league had informed them revenue was up $70 million but it was unclear if the extra $70 million was only AFL revenue or if it included increases in club revenue and if so what percentage of the revenue was club revenue.

Without clarity on the breakdown of the extra revenue it is difficult to ascertain what percentage goes now to the players.

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