AFLPA 'concerned about the advice' given to players challenging CBA

THE AFLPA has responded strongly to reports of a group of AFLW players engaging external lawyers to deal with the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

While aspects of the CBA – including pay – were agreed to last year for the 2019 to 2022 seasons, the final details for the next three seasons are currently being voted on by the playing group. 

The vote requires 75 per cent of the group to pass it, with a result expected early next week. If the deal is ratified, pre-season will start in late November, with round one to come in early February. 

"The proposed AFLW CBA has been provided to all players and is now open for player vote," the AFLPA statement said.

"We know that many players strongly support the proposed deal because it addresses player priorities and provides sustainable growth. 

"The unknown players represented by Maurice Blackburn and the lawyers on record don't represent the views of the collective playing group.

"We are concerned about the advice being given to the players and the potential negative impact this will have on the playing group and the AFLW competition." 

While the exact size of the group being represented is unknown, sources close to the negotiations have told it is a small portion of AFLW players. 

The CBA originally presented to the playing group last month had the number of rounds played building from eight in 2020 to nine by 2022, but that has since been revised to 10. 

Broadcasting is one aspect restricting a jump to 13 rounds (given there are now 14 teams in the competition), with the AFL wanting every match to be shown, believing it would negatively affect the competition if games aren’t aired.

Pay increases of 21, 10 and 11 per cent year-on-year were previously agreed to in last year's CBA and are not part of the current debate.

A News Corp report on Thursday morning said the group in question felt pressured to sign a deal they felt was unfair and if the CBA was not passed, players may have to sign a promise not to play in 2020. They also want to play 13 home and away matches by 2022.

"The AFL is aware that the AFLW players will soon vote on a three-year CBA offer via the AFLPA," an AFL spokesperson said. 

"We await the result of this vote and remain committed to the success of our women’s league, as we look to welcome four new teams in 2020, expanding our playing group to 420."