August start date and significant pay rise confirmed for AFLW

AFLW

The start date for the next season of the AFLW has been confirmed for August, while a pay increase of 94 per cent across the board will come into effect.

A season change for the AFLW has long been rumoured, and it has now finally been confirmed with the league announcing that the next season of the tournament will start in the last week of August this year.

The last season of the AFLW started in January and finished up in April, which means that just four months will separate the two seasons, both of which will be played entirely in 2022 as the next Grand Final will be held on the last weekend of November.

Major pay increase for AFLW players.

A Collective Bargaining Agreement has been struck between the AFL and AFLPA (players association) which will see an average pay rise of 94 per cent across the four payment tiers.

Players in the top tier will now be paid AU$71,935 per season, up from AU$37,155 last season, while players in the bottom tier will be paid AU$39,184, up from AU$20,239 last season.

Although only two players per club are in each of the tier one and tier two payments, the changes will see every player in the league have their wages almost doubled.

It has become increasing popular for Irish Gaelic footballers to play in the AFLW in recent years, and that trend is likely to continue.

10 rounds remain despite four new clubs.

The AFLW is expanding from 14 clubs to 18 next season, although the regular season will remain at 10 rounds, with an extra round of play offs added, while eight teams instead of six will qualify for the finals series.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has stated that the number of rounds in the tournament could increase in the future, while acknowledging the 10-round season isn’t entirely fair to all teams.

“I think everyone knows we are at odds with certainly the playing cohort and others on that. I understand and respect the desire for players to play as many games as they can as soon as they can,” McLachlan said.

“We’re going from 14 to 18 (teams), I feel and I think the scoreboard points to competitive balance issues in season six, and we want to make sure we have that structural integrity in the competition before we grow.

“What that looks like for seasons eight, nine and ten is to be determined, it’s not we have to stay at 10, our desire is to see how we go this year, look at the way the competitive balance and the season plays out before we make that decision.”

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