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The business of Aussie Rules is growing, but it won’t be at the expense of the players thanks to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Although the deal hasn’t been formally agreed by the AFL and the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA), discussions between the two parties have been positive since the start of 2017. Back in February, AFLPA CEO Paul March said the talks were progressing and he "hoped to get there soon". As of March, he reaffirmed that optimistic stance but explained that the two parties need to agree on the percentage clubs will get from the league’s overall revenue.
More Access to Updates Has Made Aussie Rules a Global Game
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With Aussie Rules gaining popularity around the world, the AFL’s profits increased year-on-year by AUD$33 million to AUD$506 million in 2016. One of the reasons for this marked growth in recent years is the advent of AFL-focused sites. Offering everything from news, reviews, updates and even betting opportunities, sports fans outside of Australia have been given an unprecedented level of access to the game.
Indeed, the average punter can now visit an online news and data site like Oddschecker and get a complete breakdown of the league’s latest activities. From expert reviews and predictions to AFL odds covering bets on everything from the future champions to the team that will make the most tackles in a season, fans old and new can now derive more entertainment from the sport.
AFL Willing to Work with Players to Get the Best Deal
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Thanks to this upswing in interest, the AFL has earned record profits, but the AFLPA wants to make sure that clubs and players are getting a fair slice of the action. The Collective Bargaining Agreement will not only draw more money from the AFL’s revenue to increase current player salaries, it will also help with retirement funds.
Under the current system, only retired players that are able to prove an injury are eligible for a percentage of their salary during retirement. However, as outlined in a recent report by the Herald Sun, the AFL’s football operations manager Mark Evans believes the existing dynamic needs to change.
"The criteria for both schemes don’t seem to adequately cater for some of the possible injuries around head knocks," Evans told the Aussie newspaper. With the AFL keen to do more for players and the AFLPA also striving for a better deal, it looks as though things are destined for a positive conclusion. Indeed, speaking to the media, Marsh said that he’s confident the AFL’s 817 players will benefit from the agreement, but at this time he couldn’t say when it will be ready.