THE battle over pay and conditions is set to blow up this week when AFL players are sent a detailed dossier explaining why discussions with the AFL remain stalled.
In terms of a new collective bargaining agreement, the AFL and the AFL Players Association have kept a low profile since the season finished. But players have become increasingly frustrated.
The Age was last night told that the AFLPA will this week tell members and player agents why talks have so far failed and what the next step should be. This could involve asking Fair Work Australia to help arbitrate. Players have already given the AFLPA the right to industrial action.
The main issue remains the league's insistence on having a five-year deal as part of what it claims is a fair and reasonable $1.14 billion offer. The AFL says the average wage for a player would be $262,000 next season and $300,000 in the final year of the agreement.
The players have dropped their claim for a set 25-27 per cent of revenue but, in exchange for a fixed-dollar amount, want a three-year set contract, with years four and five to then be renegotiated. How to do this after year three remains a sticking point. The players want an independent assessment of league revenue to determine their share while the AFL wants to keep it in house.
The use of player images also remain a concern, with players asking for a greater share of revenue. The AFL has proposed an ambassador fund for those who promote the game.
Players also want better travel and accommodation conditions. A proposed pension scheme has been rejected by the AFL.
A deal appears unlikely before Christmas. This means that if talks continue to stall early in the new year, players may boycott the NAB Cup.