The AFL has told clubs that they will consider having part of the senior coach’s salary outside the soft cap on football department spending.
But the clubs are set for continued austerity next year, with the AFL indicating that the soft cap on football department spending is expected to rise only by $200,000 or $300,000 in 2022 – from
$6.2 milion to about $6.4 million or $6.5 million.
This expected modest increase in the soft cap means that the clubs will remain a long way off their pre-pandemic versions, in which they were allowed to spend $9.7 million on football without incurring a hefty tax.
But the league is open to an exemption of part of the senior coach’s salary, and have floated the figure of 20 per cent of the coach’s wage being outside the soft cap.
If introduced, this would give Hawthorn and Sydney, for example, a soft cap of about $6.6 million or $6.7 million, depending on the overall increase in the cap, given that Alastair Clarkson and John Longmire are estimated to be paid (barring their COVID-19 pay cuts) around the $1 million mark; those clubs, thus, would have an additional $200,000 to spend.
But even that potential increase – bolstered due to the senior coach allowance – of up to $500,000 in the soft cap is still well below what several clubs had hoped for next year. Some had hoped for the footy cap to reach or exceed $7 million, allowing them to employ more coaches, recruiters and conditioning staff and ease the far heavier burden on some staff.
Club staffers have found the reduction in numbers stressful, given that the amount of work required has remained similar to the pre-pandemic levels, with fewer people to do the work.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan and his senior executive Travis Auld presented the proposed soft cap to club chief executives earlier this week.
The AFL had forecast that the competition would be down by $200 million on the 2019 revenue across the clubs and the central body, which was an improvement on the $600 million reduction in revenue in COVID-ravaged 2020. But the predictions were made prior to this week’s Victorian outbreak, which will cost the game further millions, denying the Bulldogs a sizeable return for Friday night’s clash with Melbourne.
McLachlan also told the clubs that the competition was not expected to be back to “normal” in terms of revenue until 2024, so that the pandemic’s effects would linger into next year and 2022.
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