THE AFL has informed AFL club presidents and CEOs that the AFL Commission ratified a recommendation by the football operations department for no change to the current AFLW CBA, and that the 2021 season should commence in February, with a nine-week home and away season, before a three-week finals series. 

Player payments and the current AFLW football department 'soft cap' would be maintained as agreed previously, with the 2021 season subject only to how the Australian community was dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic at the time early next year. 

AFL Commission Chairman Richard Goyder said it was the Commission's view that the AFLW was a significant growth area for the game and should not be subject to any reductions for next season, when considering the competition was not able to be completed this year and the fact that AFLW spending within clubs was much smaller than the current spend on the AFL football programs.

The Commission also hosted a meeting via video with club presidents / chairs and CEOs, where AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan provided an update to the clubs on the game's collective financial situation, when considering the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months, and the next steps for the industry to move through this initial challenging period.

"It is the Commission's view that it is critical at this juncture to provide clarity to the AFLW Clubs and players by demonstrating our ongoing commitment to women's football and the NAB AFLW Competition,' Mr McLachlan said.

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"All 18 clubs were also given a detailed outline today on the AFL's revenue forecasts for the coming two years, and our outline on the continued work that is required to be done to ensure that the AFL and our clubs collectively are able to manage the significant debt incurred this year as a result of the impact of the pandemic

"The impact on revenue will continue to affect the AFL and the clubs over the next two years and it was agreed that there needed to be a prudent approach in ensuring the code was able to continue to invest in growth and diversity and inclusion while also ensuring it returned to a sustainable financial position.

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Brisbane Lions Women’s CEO, Bree Brock, was thrilled with the news that came through yesterday afternoon.

“This is a welcome assurance for our Women’s program and players. 

“We’ve steadily been making improvements every year since our inception and hope to do so again in 2021. Our budgets are very small compared to men’s (only about 7%) so to get the results we do is really amazing.

“Our players are still part time but so are 95% of our staff. It’s a great result that we will be able to continue to support both players and staff.”