AFL Victoria proposes salary caps for local leagues

Local football leagues throughout Victoria could soon be operating under a salary cap.

The proposal was made last week by an AFL Victoria working party created to investigate how best to tackle rapidly increasing player payments at local level.

The cap is set to be trialled next year and will be supported by an appropriate enforcement policy and potential player points system.

After releasing its findings, AFL Victoria general manager Steven Reaper said the working party had asked leagues to consider how the changes would work in their competitions.

The feedback from leagues would then be considered before official test guidelines were announced for the 2015 season.

The working party conducted an extensive survey which was completed by 369 clubs across Victoria.

“The development of an AFL Victoria-led statewide solution was backed by 83 per cent of clubs who responded to the survey,” Reaper said.

“More than 50 per cent of clubs surveyed also indicated their support [for] a statewide salary cap, despite acknowledging that such a measure creates enforcement challenges.”

Members of the working party included Essendon District Football League chief executive Marc Turri and Eastern Football League chief executive Phil Murton.

AFL Victoria is yet to name which local leagues will be part of the trial in 2015.

Western Region Football League chief executive Bob Tregear said his league would be happy to be involved.

“We haven’t seen the full details of what they are proposing to implement but it will be some combination of points system and salary cap,” he said.

“We acknowledge that you won’t be able to enforce it accurately all the way along but when people are caught cheating it, there will be severe penalties.

“In principle we will support it.

“We’re willing to trial it subject to the finer details. We’re willing to be a part of the trial next year.”

Tregear said he also expected the cap to be supported by clubs.

“Clubs are looking for a way of regulating player payments and minimising player payments,” he said. “It has become silly out there at the moment.”

AFL Victoria is expecting to announce the salary cap guidelines to be trialled in 2015 before Christmas.