'Players know we'll be playing in August': CBA decision imminent, AFL CEO says

THE START date of the next AFLW season will be announced within days after a breakthrough in negotiations with the players' union.

AFLW clubs have been given provisional dates for the competition, which will move from a summer slot to an August start date.

The delay in revealing the exact start date has been criticised by many AFLW players.

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But AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says negotiations over a fresh AFLW collective bargaining agreement with the players' union are almost complete.

"I am confident we will get an arrangement in the next 24, 36 hours," McLachlan told reporters in Adelaide on Monday.

"It's important that we have the right outcome for our female players and also for the 18 clubs ... and for female football generally.

"I hope people understand that the moving to an early start date without a collective bargaining (agreement), these things take some time.

"Players know we will be playing in August, clubs have been given provisional dates, we're close.... I am optimistic we will have an announcement in the next day or so."

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan at the announcement of AFLW expansion in August 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Four new clubs will enter the AFLW next season, making it an 18-team competition.

Last season's league was a nine-round competition followed by finals which ended with an April 9 Grand Final.

Players want more rounds, given the increase in the number of clubs, but McLachlan hinted that may not be granted.

"Broadly speaking, the female playing cohort want to play a longer season," McLachlan said.

"It's also our view is we're bringing four more teams on board and we want to consolidate before we expand.

"That is obviously something we have been discussing.

"It's a real issue for the female players, I know that ... it is obviously something that has been a key part of the discussions."