phuck u afl
Purge on deals for veterans
By Stephen Rielly
July 04 2003
The AFL is preparing an attack on the practice of back-loading the contracts of veterans, a change that will significantly reduce the financial appeal of the present system that allows for half of a veteran's contract to be excluded from the salary cap.
At a meeting of club chief executives and the AFL yesterday, the league outlined a proposal to "average" the contracts of veterans that will consider the life of their deals rather than the season(s) in which they are listed as veterans.
It is common practice for clubs to pay an outstanding player, approaching veteran status, well below market value in the early years of a contract and load the bulk of the deal into the year in which he qualifies.
For example, Essendon has back-loaded the contract of James Hird so that when he is listed as a veteran next year, 50 per cent of his salary will be exempt from the salary cap.
Carlton has done likewise with Anthony Koutoufides.
The players get their money but the clubs get salary cap relief twice over, in the first instance by paying below market value for their champions before they are veterans and again when they qualify as veterans.
The proposal as explained yesterday would add the total sum of a contract and divide it by its years, producing an average of which half would be exempt from the salary cap.
For example, a $1 million, three-year-deal that pays a player $150,000 in season one, $250,000 in season two and $600,000 in the year of qualification would average out at $333,000, of which $166,500 would be discounted from the cap.
At the moment, $300,000 would be exempt.
Until this year, clubs have been able to list only two veterans - players with at least 10 years' service and who are at least 30 years of age - but as of next year, they will be able to nominate as many veterans as they want.
The AFL suggested yesterday that the change would not take effect until 2005, allowing clubs to honour existing deals and to give them time to accommodate the switch.