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Volume 10 No. 22
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Australian Football League Reports Record Revenue Of A$446M For '13 Season

As influential Australian Football League figures "met in Adelaide to address a growing financial inequity between clubs considered the competition’s greatest concern came revelations the code is wealthier than ever before," according to Walsh & Denham of THE AUSTRALIAN. AFL Commission Chair Mike Fitzpatrick on Tuesday announced a record revenue of A$446M for '13, with those responsible for the bottom line "also reaping individual benefits." A string of bonuses associated with his stewardship of key platforms including the A$1.25B broadcast deal, two new expansion clubs and the successful resolution of the collective bargaining agreement saw AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou earn A$3.8M. Demetriou "is not alone in sharing the spoils, with his heir-apparent Gillon McLachlan among a 13-member executive team that was paid salaries and bonuses" in '13 totaling A$6.8M. The downside is that 10 clubs "reported financial losses." Of the eight clubs recording profits, five topped A$1M (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/5). In Melbourne, Baker & Timms reported the boom in exec pay came on the back of record A$446M revenue for the AFL, up A$18M from '12, which was detailed in the AFL’s annual report released by the league Monday night. The report "also details an increase in funding to clubs" -- up 5% to A$209M, including funding for expansion clubs Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast of A$20.2M. Players "also benefited from a healthy increase in payments," up 6.8% to A$197.5M (HERALD SUN, 3/4).

NEW JOB OFFERS: The AAP reported Demetriou said that he is "considering a number of job offers, the most recent of which came shortly after he announced his resignation." Demetriou also revealed that "he took his children's iPads and iPhones away to prevent them leaking the news of his departure at the end of the 2014 season before his media conference on Monday." He said, "I've got a couple of things that I'm looking at. I've got to work. I've got four children at school. I want to be waving goodbye to the children in the morning, not them waving goodbye to me." Demetriou "would not elaborate on what that offer was." He said, "I'm not telling you. It might've been morning radio!" Demetriou said that he "did not really want to remain in sports administration, reiterating his interest in joining the board at James Packer's Crown Entertainment" (AAP, 3/4).

NO MORE ALLOWANCE: In Sydney, Buckle & Larkin wrote the AFL said that "it will phase out" the Sydney Swans' allowance, while "also pursuing a cap on spending in football departments of all clubs." Swans Chair Andrew Pridham "was disappointed at the phasing out of the allowance, which gave his club additional money in its salary cap compared to rival clubs." Pridham "rejected suggestions the Swans had used the money," some 9.8% more than rivals, "to lure highly-paid recruits such as Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett." He said in a statement, "The club has used the allowance for its intended purpose -- to provide all players on our list compensation for the higher costs associated with living in Sydney" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 3/4).

ON THE ATTACK: In Melbourne, Will Brodie reported Collingwood President Eddie McGuire "has attacked some fellow AFL clubs, saying it was time for them to 'stop cheating,' and 'burning the competition to the ground every other year.'" He said, "It's time for a few clubs to pull their heads in and start putting into the competition. I’m not just talking about the poorer clubs, I’m talking about some of the middle-ranked clubs who ... should be doing better." McGuire said that "the slate would probably be wiped clean for recent transgressors." He said, "But the next team that cheats and the next administration that does it, they should be be put in the city square and flogged" (THE AGE, 3/4).

BUDGET CAP: In Melbourne, Ralph & Timms reported AFL clubs Hawthorn and Collingwood "will accept a football department luxury tax that could hit them with a 75 per cent levy for every dollar they spend over a set mark." And an overall revenue tax "will also be applied on a sliding scale," with a ceiling of A$500,000 for wealthy clubs. The details "are still to be ­finalised," but the football ­department tax could kick in at A$8.5M-A$9M. The tax calculations exclude the A$10M player salary cap (HERALD SUN, 3/4).

NEW CHALLENGES: The AAP wrote AFL Players' Association CEO Matt Finnis "faces one of football's biggest challenges in April when he takes over" as St. Kilda's CEO. The club's Seaford training base "is far away from the city, hopes for an on-field surge back up the ladder this year are similarly remote, and changes are coming thick and fast at the club" (AAP, 3/4).