Free Agency for the Australian Football League?

The Australian Football League has arguably the most restrictive labour market regulations of any pro sport; a player draft, a (relatively hard) salary cap, and player roster restrictions. No free agency of any kind.

According to The Weekend Australian, the CEO of the AFL Players’ Association, Mr Brendan Gale, will be meeting the AFL Commission on Monday April 21 to discuss the prospect of some form of veteran free agency. Putting aside the legal arguments surroundingthe common law restraint of trade for now (where the AFLPA has long been a corporate version of ‘idle threat man’), Gale is running with the argument that:

‘AFL footy clubs sell hope’ so ‘if a club has a glaring deficiency they can address through free agency, doesn’t that help them sell hope? Doesn’t it make them more competitive and help competitive balance?’

I like the first line about selling hope. The rest is open to debate.

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Author: Robert Macdonald

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