The price of fielding a good sports team

THE Player Points System (PPS) and the Player Salary Cap (PSC) are about to enter their third and second years respectively but are these new rules equitable and enforceable and how successful have they been in checking escalating player payments?

Although not a salary cap, the PPS has merit and works because it limits the number of multiple point players that a club can recruit, which effectively does reduce player payments.

Essentially clubs need to be conscious that they can accommodate their best players in their best teams for their biggest games.

However the PSC is at the opposite end of the spectrum, with real issues concerning fairness and effective implementation.

Cash in hand payments have always been a fact of football and any official who suggests they don’t happen, or they are about to cease, is living under a rock. 

Of course the message from clubs statewide will be of compliance, which is understandable, but the reality will be rather different.

AFL Victoria has no control whatsoever over the cash economy.

Despite threats of audits and visits from integrity officers, cash collected by clubs throughout Victoria will simply never equate to cash remitted.

The disproportionate structure of the salary caps is problematic.

Leagues close to Melbourne, like the Goulburn Valley ($185,000), Bendigo ($160,000) and some suburban leagues like the Southern ($200,000) have generous caps, yet these leagues would incur the lowest travel expenses if they recruited high profile former AFL and VFL players.

The Sunraysia league, at the top end of the state with the highest travel expenditure, has a low cap by comparison.

Failure to structure fair and enforceable rules will mean that some clubs will stay within the boundaries while others won’t.

Despite public perception, the fastest/best runner doesn’t win the Stawell Gift.

In fact the fastest sprinters won’t even be at Stawell for the final race on Easter Monday. Rather the athlete who engages the system best will collect the spoils of victory.

Bernie Kelly,


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