AFL Approves Max 'Poaching Fine,' And Economics Formula For Draft
The Australian Football League Commission has approved a maximum fine of $100,000 for clubs "in breach of tightened rules relating to the poaching of players during a season," according to Greg Denham of THE AUSTRALIAN. The doubling of the previous maximum of a $50,000 sanction "was relayed to clubs this week as a warning on the eve of the introduction of free agency in October." The move will prevent the code from "heading down the same path as the National Rugby League," where it is possible for players and officials to be signed for the future by a rival club while still employed. Apart from a six to 10-week window in between AFL seasons that assisted the two new clubs in signing players, "clubs will continue to be banned from researching a binding agreement with contracted players from other clubs or players eligible to move under free agency until October each year" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/15). Meanwhile in Sydney, Denham also reported the AFL will use a "confidential formula devised by an economics professor to decide whether clubs deserve a priority draft pick." Following several "tanking" controversies that have plagued the AFL in recent seasons, the league will decide every September whether a club has qualified for extra draft assistance. University of Melbourne Professor Jeff Borland has "developed a formula to objectively measure clubs' performance." The formula will take into account injury rates, consistency of team performances, win-loss records, previous finals appearances and percentages in recent seasons. AFL GM of Football Operations Adrian Anderson said, "Special assistance is now ultimately a matter for the commission's discretion and will be awarded only in exceptional circumstances" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/15).