AFL players with games-based clauses in their contracts won’t be penalised from the shortening of the 2020 season, with the league and AFL Players’ Association agreeing to a deal whereby such clauses will be adjusted in proportion with the reduction of the number of home and away games.
It is common for players to have games-based triggers in their contracts. There are various trigger mechanisms, including for a player’s salary to increase in a given year if he reaches a certain amount of matches, or for the player to trigger a deal for another year on the club’s list by reaching a specified number of games, either in a single season or across several seasons.
St Kilda defenders Jake Carlisle and Jarryn Geary both had publicised trigger clauses in their respective contracts last season, which if reached guaranteed their respective spots on the Saints’ list in 2020. Injury prevented Geary from reaching his trigger clause, although the Saints nevertheless opted to re-sign their skipper.
However with the coronavirus pandemic cutting the 2020 season from the ordinary 22 matches per team to 17 rounds – at best – such clauses would become harder, if not impossible, to fulfil. For instance, a player with an 18-match clause in his contract would be unable to trigger a new deal if his team didn’t make the finals.