The remainder of the clubs without banned Essendon players are angry at the preliminary interpretation of the rules. Photo: Phil Carrick The AFL will wait for a deal to be struck between Essendon and the suspended players over payment of their wages before ruling on whether the four non-Essendon clubs can receive a salary cap windfall for not having paid their former Bombers this year.
Such a ruling would enable the clubs to potentially secure a highly paid recruit with the salary cap relief they could receive and has incensed the rest of the league’s clubs.
The remainder of the clubs without banned Essendon players are angry at the preliminary interpretation of the rules and nearly all have written to the league arguing strongly against the move.
The AFL has deferred a final ruling on the situation until a deal is completed between Essendon, their insurers, the players and the four clubs over who pays the players and how much they pay.
The league has indicated the rules would allow the Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, Melbourne and St Kilda to exclude from their salary caps the amount they do not pay the banned players for this year.
That amount excluded would create space in the salary cap to pay existing players this year or bank for next year and so make substantial space to recruit a valuable player.
The four clubs were not permitted to sign top-up players and must get through the season without Paddy Ryder and Angus Monfries (Port Adelaide), Jake Carlisle (St Kilda), Jake Melksham (Melbourne), and Stewart Crameri (Bulldogs).
The league’s investigations officer Ken Wood and head of integrity Andrew Dillon have indicated to clubs a first reading of the rules and how they have been applied in the past would indicate the money should not be in the clubs’ salary caps if they have not paid the players.
The league has pointed to the fact Collingwood did not pay banned pair Lachlan Keeffe and Josh Thomas a portion of their contracts last year and that amount was also excluded from their salary cap.
The clubs have argued the significant difference between Keeffe and Thomas and the Essendon players is that no-one paid Keeffe and Thomas whereas these players are all going to receive payment by a third party – Essendon – for their contracts.
They also argue ‘buyer beware’ and that all of the clubs knew the risk of the players being suspended when they recruited them, arguably with the exception of Angus Monfries.
In their submissions to the AFL the clubs have also pointed to the inconsistency of the league’s position and the Buddy Franklin contract situation.
When Franklin was recruited to the Swans on a mega deal the AFL decreed that even if Franklin were to retire and not be paid his full contract amount for the duration of his long contract the money would still need to be accounted for in the Swans salary cap.
It has also been pointed out that if the four clubs do not include the portion of the players wages in their salary cap because Essendon is paying them then logically those amounts should be included in Essendon’s salary cap. The league has already changed the rules to prevent this, acknowledging the unique circumstances of the Essendon situation.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.