A significant portion of AFL players would have their pay reduced, via lost match payments, in the event of games being cancelled due to the coronavirus.
The AFL Players’ Association view is that players on guaranteed contracts – in which they are paid an annual salary, regardless of how many games they play – would not lose any money in the unlikely event of games being called off.
But the player union said that players who had a base salary and then match payments – a group that includes all first and second year players – would lose match payments from the games that were cancelled.
The AFL has said it is prepared for the contingency of games being played before empty stadia, but has not specified what would happen in the even more extreme event of games being cancelled because of a coronavirus outbreak during the upcoming season. This would see changes to the fixture and is among the hypothetical scenarios that the AFL will make plans to deal with.
Players on guaranteed money tend to be the better players on club lists, with the lower paid players – and younger players – relying on match payments for every game they play. The AFLPA view is based on the collective bargaining agreement they have with the AFL, which mandates that first and second year players be paid a certain amount in their base salary plus match payments for games at AFL level.
The player union has been in discussions with the AFL about the ramifications of the coronavirus and expect to receive more information in the coming days, with a working party having been formed of up to 10 people that will include the AFL medical officer Peter Harcourt and legal counsel Simon Clarke and is expected to utilise an outside expert to advise the league on measures needed to contain the virus and minimise fallout.