League salary caps cut

By Jamie Lowe

Clubs across the district now know the path forward for the 2021 football season.

AFL Goulburn Murray affiliated competitions have been forced to cut their senior footy salary caps as the full effect of the COVID-19 pandemic begins to show.

The Murray Football Netball League has had its Allowable Player Payments (APP) reduced by 29 per cent from $140,000 to $100,000.

Meanwhile the Picola & District Football Netball League’s cap has been cut from $105,000 to $90,000, a reduction of 14 per cent.

AFLGM commission chairman Peter Foott said the changes were a result of clubs being unable to raise funds in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘‘Aligning with the objectives of the AFL Victoria Allowable Player Payments policy, these limits will assist clubs to attract and maintain players, supporters, volunteers and sponsors,’’ Foott said.

‘‘This will ensure teams are, as far as possible, strong and well matched financially on and off the field. It is important ‘stronger’ clubs do not obtain an unfair proportion of top players at the expense of other clubs.’’

PDFNL president Denis Brooks said the league was ‘‘more than happy to play its role in reducing the pressure on our country communities and supports the reductions in salary caps for all football competitions throughout Victoria’’.

‘‘We are acutely aware of the ongoing difficulties facing our community partners and hope we can assist them as we all emerge in partnership with these businesses from the current restrictions,’’ Brooks said.

Murray Football Netball League president Julie Walsh holds a similar view to Brooks.

‘‘The MFNL is all about our clubs and communities and ensuring our clubs can continue to be strong,’’ she said.

‘‘It is good to see movement toward a sustainable approach that is unified across the state and has a long-term application.’’

Clubs do not have to spend the maximum amount indicated by AFLGM.

Mathoura Football Netball Club president Andrew Pridham said it was ‘‘good to have a sense of direction much earlier than we thought’’.

‘‘Originally, we were told we might not hear anything until October or November, which would have made it a lot harder to recruit,’’ he said.

‘‘I think the biggest positive is that all leagues have reduced in one way or another, which means no-one is being left behind.

‘‘It feels like there could be more bargaining power for clubs in what some people might consider to be lesser competitions.

‘‘All of the changes are going to go a long way to helping the long-term sustainability of community clubs which is a big win.

‘‘There is less revenue to try and raise which does ease the pressure on everyone from the committee to sponsors.

‘‘This year has been extremely difficult for all clubs and we’re looking forward to the positive things which are yet to come.’’