Rivals cry foul over Franklin deal
Buddy Franklin's move to the Swans draws ire over AFL salary cap concessions, with Mick Malthouse calling Sydney's $10 million bid a "bloody disgrace".PT1M22S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2ure0 620 349 October 2, 2013
Sydney's audacious $10 million bid to land Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin has brought the Swans' additional $900,000-a-season cost of living allowance under fire.
Hawthorn has until Friday week to match Sydney's estimated nine-year, $10 million offer for Franklin, once the free agency offer period commences, but the Hawks are restricted as the AFL pays the Swans and Greater Western Sydney an extra 9.8 per cent above the salary cap.
Hawthorn has until Friday to match Sydney's estimated nine-year, $10 million offer for star forward Lance Franklin. Photo: Getty Images
Former AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson and a number of club presidents on Tuesday said it was time to scrap the Sydney concession.
The calls comes as data compiled by the University of Canberra reveals that it only costs an average person $2721 a year more to live in Sydney compared with Melbourne.
According to the university's Natsem Household Budget Report - which aggregates the cost of a basket of goods, accommodation expenses and utility bills - it costs on average $72,914 a year to live in Sydney and $70,193 in Melbourne.
Being Buddy Franklin
Rivals, now teammates? Alongside Swan opponent Ted Richards. Photo: Anthony Johnson
Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon spent a week in the US in August as part of an AFL delegation - which included Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and league chief executive Andrew Demetriou - to look at the NFL, NBA and MLB competitions and their wage structures.
''I came back with the view that there is no place for the cost of living allowance, Buddy [Franklin] or no Buddy,'' Gordon said.
''There clearly is a policy consideration as to whether you let some teams have more in their salary cap. But I think there is more of a case for that to be determined by perennially poor performers on the field rather than where your team happens to be based. If you look at Sydney's win-loss record, grand final record and finals record over the last seven or eight years … it certainly doesn't speak to the need to give them this further advantage.''
Illustration: Ron Tandberg
Anderson, writing exclusively in The Age on Wednesday, says the concession distorts the salary cap and the AFL needs to focus its efforts on ''fairer means of promoting our great game in NSW''.
On his Triple M show on Tuesday, McGuire suggested there would be a ''riot'' if Sydney managed to secure Franklin to join the big-ticket signing of Kurt Tippett at the end of last season.
It is understood Tippett earns $887,000 a year, including an estimated $86,975 cost of living allowance.
According to the University of Canberra report, compiled by principal research fellow Ben Phillips, it costs $4800 more per year to live in Sydney compared with Adelaide - Australia's cheapest capital city.
Such cost of living allowances are no longer paid in the corporate sector. Three of the AFL's major sponsorship partners - Toyota, Telstra and NAB - confirmed that their Sydney-based staff are paid no more than their equivalents in Melbourne.
Even AFL staff said on Tuesday that they do not receive a cost of living allowance for working in Sydney, except in exceptional circumstances.
The AFL has used Sydney's high house prices to justify the cost of living allowance, but Perth house prices have also been among the most expensive in the country over the past seven years.
Gordon said it was time for reform. ''The sooner we get to an uncompromised draft and unsullied salary cap system, which is guaranteed and which is equal across the competition, the better off we'll be.''
Sydney confirmed an offer had been made to Franklin's management and the club intended to lodge the offer with the AFL on Friday at the start of the free agency period.
The AFL said it would scrutinise the deal and interview key parties. It said with the cost of living allowance under review, the Swans understood they might need to accommodate Franklin's contract in an environment in which it was removed altogether.