AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis. Photo: Joe Armao
A proposed tax on football department spending as part of a ''three levers'' approach will be one suggestion players discuss to help close the gap between the rich and poor clubs.
The AFL Players Association will hold its annual two-day directors and delegates' conference from Tuesday, which this year also includes a dinner on Tuesday night to celebrate its 40th anniversary.
Equalisation is one of the key issues facing the league, with several measures up for discussion and the AFLPA wanting every player to have an equal chance of success no matter which club they are drafted to.
The AFL and AFLPA have yet to settle on an ideal figure for football department spending, but teams that exceeded this would have that added portion taxed, with the money directed into a central pool and spread to clubs most in need.
Collingwood was one of the top spenders last season, pouring $22.46 million into its football department.
AFLPA chief executive Matt Finnis would not discuss specific plans but said players' salaries were the only capped expenditure line within clubs, with some investing several million more dollars in development coaches and programs than others.
''It concerns us immensely that you can have a player drafted in the same round of the draft as one of his peers and over the course of the first three to four years of their playing life, work in environments where there's a $10 million difference allocated to their professional development,'' Finnis said on Monday.
''We need to fundamentally review the way in which the football economy operates and ensure that, notwithstanding the discrepancies in the traditional drawing power of the clubs, that teams are able to compete on a level footing and whilst competitive on the field, are actually partners in the common enterprise of AFL football,'' he said.
''If you want to maintain restrictions on players, such as the draft and the salary cap, then you have to promote their integrity, and at the moment the integrity of these measures is being significantly undermined by a failure to adequately address the economic disparity,'' Finnis said.
''In terms of solutions, we've got to look at sharing the revenues and if you do that, then that will allow the clubs to compete on a more even playing field and invest in areas where they're going to get the best performance outcomes, whether that be in players or coaches or other resources.''
This comes as the AFL and PA prepare for next year's mid-term review of the collective bargaining agreement, with player payments and conditions big-ticket items. Players will be updated on this on Wednesday.
It's understood players will maintain a push for teams to retain two runners during matches (only one is allowed on the field at once).