SENIOR competitions in AFL Riverina will soon be subject to a salary cap or player points system.
AFL NSW-ACT is in the early stages of adopting a community club sustainability program that will be implemented across Riverina and Farrer competitions.
One of the key aspects is to stop the inflationary nature of player payments and to help create an even playing field across competitions.
It will see a salary cap or player points system introduced as soon as next year, pending when AFL Victoria chooses to implement the program.
AFL NSW-ACT state football operations manager Darren Simpson explained that NSW is set to follow Victoria’s lead with the program.
“The main reason is AFL Victoria has done a huge amount of work on this project, they’re the ones doing it,” Simpson said.
“I think it’s widely acknowledged, Australia wide, in community football that the sustainability of it could be in question if player payments continue to be driven through the roof.”
To stop players chasing money across the border, Riverina, Farrer and Hume Leagues are expected to adopt the system in support of Victorian neighbours.
Simpson said the program is designed to ensure the survival of clubs.
“It is to stop payments spiralling out of control, this is not saying you can’t pay players, it’s just getting it under control,” he said.
“The points system is not just about money, the aim is to prevent people going from club to club chasing success and to build good club environments.
“No one out there is silly enough to believe a salary cap would be easy to police in community football, it would be an enormous challenge, but the best thing at the moment is that there is actually an appetite for a salary cap of some respect.”
AFL Riverina clubs have been asked for feedback but just four of 18 senior clubs responded.
Southern NSW AFL community football program manager Paul Habel said AFL will work with clubs.
“There is no doubt it is a big step but we’ll work through the process with clubs,” Habel said.
Surveys of Victorian clubs found 83 per cent believe a system to manage escalating player payments needs to be introduced.
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