Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

AFL, players clash over pay cuts as coronavirus shutdown bites

CoronavirusMar 25, 2020 04:40AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 

By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The Australian government's call for sacrifice and solidarity in the face of the coronavirus shutdown has gone unheeded in the country's most popular sporting competition with Australian Rules footballers at loggerheads with officials over pay cuts.

The coronavirus outbreak, like it has done to the broader economy, has taken a wrecking ball to the nation's professional sports, idling hundreds of players and staff in Australian Rules football, along with hundreds more in rugby league and soccer.

With no product to sell and no revenue coming in, leagues stand to lose tens of millions of dollars every week they remain suspended, raising warnings they could fold before long.

Austerity measures have already hit the Australian Football League (AFL), the top flight of Australian Rules, which shut down on Sunday after only one round of championship matches.

With the season suspended until at least the end of May, Australian Rules' governing body has stood down 80% of staff, with top executives agreeing a 20% pay cut.

The AFL's 18 clubs have mothballed their football departments and sent players home for the duration of the shutdown but tense negotiations over player pay cuts boiled over on Wednesday.

The top players can earn over A$1 million ($603,000) per season in the high-contact indigenous game, though average wages are about a third of that -- a far cry from the salaries enjoyed in top European soccer leagues or in the major U.S. sports.

The AFL have offered players 25% of their pay for the duration of the shutdown but the union has insisted they retain at least half.

AFL players' union president Patrick Dangerfield, a top midfielder for the Geelong Cats and one of the game's highest earners, accused the AFL of withholding information.

"Are we prepared to take longer term cuts? Absolutely," Dangerfield told Melbourne radio station SEN on Wednesday.

"We need full transparency from the AFL so we can make the right decisions for players and the game. We haven't had those as yet."

OUT OF STEP

With thousands of Australians losing their jobs because of the virus shutdown, the players' stance has irked the AFL's old guard and triggered criticism from some fans.

Leigh Matthews, a board member at the Brisbane Lions club and one of the game's all-time greats, slammed them for not agreeing to a bigger cut.

"They’re out of step with most of the world, let alone the rest of the football community," the 68-year-old told local radio station 3AW.

Similar debates are playing out in the National Rugby League (NRL), which suspended its season indefinitely on Monday.

Players are resigned to their salaries being hit but some of the bigger earners have offered to take steeper cuts to help lower-paid colleagues absorb the blow.

The league and players union, who held talks on Wednesday, hope to strike a deal by the end of the week.

"The NRL and the players are absolutely aligned in our desire to ensure the game gets through this crisis," they said in a joint statement.

AFL, players clash over pay cuts as coronavirus shutdown bites
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email