Gill fronts AFLW players in CBA fight
Gillon McLachlan fronted a summit of key AFL Women's players on Monday as the women's league pay and conditions fight seeks an urgent resolution.
Player delegates have agreed to drop their push for the season to be extended to 13 home and away rounds plus finals by 2022, meaning teams will not play each other once for at least another three seasons.
It is understood that player representatives resolved not to table a 13 round season with factors such as employment and travel taken into account, along with sustainability of a lengthened competition, with the season to increase from eight to 10 rounds plus finals over the life of the three-year deal.
Stream over 50 sports Live & On-Demand with KAYO SPORTS on your TV, computer, mobile or tablet. Just $25/month, no lock-in contract. Get your 14-day free trial and start streaming instantly >
The deal has been agreed to in principle. Players from all clubs will now be briefed on the updated details with a formal vote expected to be put to players as soon as late this week or potentially early next week.
McLachlan described the meeting as "important".
"There is no doubt everyone involved in women's football are aligned on the key goal of creating a strong, sustainable and successful AFLW competition," he said.
"Our game has been so well served by the many women who have fought hard over the years and been so instrumental in getting us to where we are as a competition. We welcome and appreciate the commitment, passion and openness of the current playing group in advocating for greater opportunities for female players.
"Today's meeting was an important discussion, especially to hear directly from representatives of the playing group and to listen to their concerns, and to be able to provide greater clarity and certainty around those issues that they can relay to the wider AFLW playing group.
"We were grateful to the AFLPA and the players for both their time and their strong commitment in working to drive the growth of women's football over the coming years."
AFL Women's player delegates from all clubs attended the Monday morning round table at AFL House, which saw AFL head of women's football Nicole Livingstone and football operations boss Steve Hocking part of a league delegation that addressed player concerns following the failed collective bargaining agreement vote earlier this month.
AFL Players' Association boss Paul Marsh also attended the meeting which was considered by many to have been a productive exercise.
Thirty per cent of players opposed the deal that had been offered earlier this month, with a 75 per cent mark needed to be met in order to pass the deal.
As the 2019 draft looms on Tuesday morning, the AFL has agreed to provide earlier notice for players on pre-season start dates and also ensuring player payments are made available more swiftly.
The league has also agreed to an increase in bonus prizemoney payments for grand final teams.
The pre-season is expected to begin in late November, having been delayed as the dispute rolled on.
Players that are drafted on Tuesday morning will be invited to vote on the deal, the AFL Players' Association confirmed, meaning around 100 more players will have the opportunity to have their say given they will be a part of the competition that the three-year deal will affect. Voting is not compulsory.
Adelaide coach Matthew Clarke said on Monday that he was hopeful that the process would "play out pretty quickly" and anticipated a pre-season start date being set as soon as this week.
"The reality is the same for all the teams and we are well-prepared," he said.
"Whenever they say go, we'll be ready to go
"We'd love to know the date, I'm sure all the players would love to know the date but we've got a rough idea."