(Australian Associated Press)
The AFL is closing in on a fairer pay deal for the new women’s league, with an announcement expected in coming days.
Under the AFL’s original offer, most players would have received a minimum wage of just $5000 for the inaugural season next year.
The league has since been in negotiations with the AFL Players Association and general manager of game and development Simon Lethlean says a fairer deal is imminent.
“We’re really close and we’re confident it’s something the AFLPA will endorse and it’ll be a fair deal in most people’s eyes,” he said on Wednesday.
“(It will be) a really fair deal, a really rewarding deal and a deal that we’ve worked closely with the players and the AFLPA on to ensure it’s a sustainable start to this comp.
“The girls are well rewarded, not just for playing but for marketing and ambassadorial roles.”
Most players would have been required under the AFL’s original offer to pay for their own health insurance for the 22-week season, which includes pre-season training and eight weeks of competition.
The minimum wage for players in the national netball league was this year increased to $27,375, while female cricketers earn at least $18,000 if they play both the one-day and Twenty20 domestic leagues.
Lethlean says the league is likely to announce fixtures for the women’s league and the men’s pre-season competition next week.
The Seven Network have offered to broadcast at least one women’s game per week and Fox Footy are keen to show “most, if not all” games, he said.
A number of games will be played either immediately before or after the men’s pre-season clashes, while others will be stand-alone clashes.
“We’ll get as many curtain-raisers as we can, or curtain-closers for some of them,” Lethlean said.
“(Many) women work, they have to get home and can’t miss weekdays sometimes. There’s lots of overlays that are harder than the men’s fixture at times so we’re working through all of that.”
Collingwood marquee player Moana Hope says there are benefits in both scenarios.
“Either you’re playing before superstar male players or you’re playing a stand-alone game where the crowd has come for you,” she said.
“Either way for me, it’s a win-win.”
The AFL is weighing up whether the women’s grand final on Saturday March 25 should be staged at the MCG as a curtain-raiser to Essendon’s round one clash with Hawthorn or instead held at a smaller ground.