Patrick Dangerfield, president of the AFL Players Association, suggests patience can pay off for AFLW players amid growing frustration at the speed of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Most important points:
- Season seven of the AFLW kicks off in three months, but players are still in the dark about their pre-season schedule, season length and collective bargaining agreement
- AFLPA President Patrick Dangerfield Says Negotiations Are Underway With AFL
- Outgoing AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says players have been given raw data to work with, including a start date the last weekend in August
The women’s league will expand to 18 teams for the seventh season, which is expected to begin in the last week of August and lead to the men’s final.
The preseason is due to start in June, but there is still no CBA, with deal length and season length being the main sticking points.
“I’d rather have the right deal than rush a deal that the players aren’t happy about, or something that isn’t fair,” Dangerfield said on Friday.
“I don’t think what we’re asking is unreasonable, but it should reflect the input our female players have into the game, the work they put into it.
“As much as we all want to be sure about that, it has to be the right deal.”
Most AFLW players say they want a full home-and-away season eventually, but the league has so far been reluctant to commit to more than 10 rounds plus finals.
Dangerfield said season length and player pay are the main focuses for the AFLPA in negotiations.
“Finance is a very important part of this,” Dangerfield said.
“You have to be rewarded for the time you put in and if we expect the game to improve, you have to invest in that part of it.
“There are details that are being worked out and then there is clearly the length of the season.
So far, there has been no official confirmation around dates for AFLW players’ signing periods, draft or season schedule.
Several players have taken to social media in recent weeks to express their frustration at the AFL’s lack of information, especially as the organization appears to prioritize planning for the men’s league.
On Friday, however, outgoing AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said clubs were given indicative data to work with last week.
“The season starts on that last weekend of August and comes in the men’s [finals]’, McLachlan told 3AW radio.
“I know that as we go to 18 teams this season, the clubs and our female players want to know the exact details.
“We just need to get this deal with the Players Association done… but we’ll get there.”