Free Agency - Working like intended or a complete Balls up


It’s interesting to consider. If you are front ending a long term contract I can’t see why wouldn’t build contractual penalties for early departure into the terms. The agents and aflpa would sook but it would restore some equality and integrity to the bargaining


I have a really good contracts lawyer, and she has drilled into me over the past 20 years that any contract has to be fair and reasonable to all parties. Once signed then breaking it is either by mutual agreement or subject to large penalties.

The issue for me with AFL contracts is that a player can finish a contract and then be obliged to negotiate a new one with the same club or be put into a player trade. The salary cap was supposed to be the mechanism that equalised the competition, but it does not seem to work that way.


Yes, but if you think footy administrators have learned anything from that, you’d be wrong.


That’s true. The salary cap and the draft.

But the salary cap as an equalisation method is undermined by the fact that successful clubs can offer a package that unsuccessful clubs can’t, because on-field success or the promise of it is a significant motivator for players. And there’s the geographical thing - it’s not like IT or something where you can poach a gun from another company even if they live in another state, and let them work from home or open a Melbourne office for them to work at or something.

And the draft as an equaliser gets undercut if the club the draftees are supposed to be shoring up can’t keep them after their initial 2 year contract.

The AFL assumed when designing the salary cap and FA system that players would chase the cash, and that location and on-field success would be very much secondary factors to that. The base idea was that crap clubs don’t pay much in salary so can afford to poach good FAs to get themseleves out of the doldrums. Instead, they’re getting raided for their few good players by clubs who can offer on-field success. The base assumptions of the system have proven to be wrong, and if the AFL is serious about equalisation they’re going to have to do something about it.


From memory it ended about half way through Jerry Maguire.