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Eddie McGuire: Swans given a fair go

Date

Jon Pierik and Matt Murnane

'The sooner we get all these things out of the way the better.'

'The sooner we get all these things out of the way the better.' Photo: Getty Images

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire says the cost-of-living allowance remains "ridiculous" but believes a fair balance has been struck in giving the Sydney Swans until the start of the 2017 season to phase it out.

McGuire, a member of the AFL's equalisation sub-committee, said there had been an initial plan to immediately ditch the controversial 9.8 per cent extra worth of salary cap room the Swans enjoy but this would not have been fair.

"At some stage it was going to be immediately stopping but we just thought it would be fairer to ease it in. In my mind, it has always been ridiculous but, at the same time, I have been very strong on this, and I have been for 10 years, that the younger players who need a cost-of-living component should have a cost-of-living component," he said.

"To be fair to the Swans, they need time to pull it back. To do it in one foul swoop would be too onerous.

"Two years, with this year, there aren't too many contracts over three years, so that should be able to get everyone through."

The Swans, instead, will be given a rent subsidy for those players who earn less than the average players' wage. This will be paid directly by the AFL.

Greater Western Sydney appears to have retained its additional $1 million in its salary cap, with the club arguing it is desperately needed during its fledgling years in a tough market.

"That's a further establishment fee. We have bought in to this so far. Then that will wash itself through," McGuire said.

"The sooner we get all these things out of the way the better but you have just got to be sensible about these things. They are getting every opportunity but we all signed up for that. We just have to keep an eye on these things so they don't blow out."

While McGuire is content to give the Swans time to adjust their salary cap, Carlton coach Mick Malthouse says he can’t see the point in the AFL waiting until 2017.

Malthouse is a long-term critic of the allowance, believing it has created a "two-tiered" system within the league, and spoke at length about the issue on Wednesday, calling for the AFL to scrap the assistance immediately.

"2017? What's wrong with 2016 or 2015?" Malthouse asked reporters.

"The quicker we straighten it out ... so there's no spikes in someone else's salary cap for particular reasons or because you live here or whatever you do, the better,” he said.

Malthouse, a former St Kilda player and senior coach at Footscray, said he held significant fears for Melbourne's smaller clubs.

"I take my Carlton hat off and put on a football person's hat ... what do they get? How do they get advantages? They don't," he said.

"If anything, they're disadvantaged all the way through. They pay more for their grounds and a whole host of things. And it's not even the clubs you worry about so much, it's the supporter groups."

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