AFLPA chief Paul Marsh has put the onus on clubs to cure homesickness and has forecast a day in which players can move to clubs of choice without interference from third parties.
Asked if he was happy with the current culture of homesickness triggering player movement in a national competition, Marsh said:
“It’s up to the clubs to create an environment where players want to stay,” he told SEN’s The Run Home.
“We tend to get hysterical about the odd player that might want to go home.
“The reality is players all have different circumstances and I think the industry needs to respect that.
“We are seeing mental health being probably the biggest issue the players are dealing with and I think the industry needs to take that into account.
“When a player needs to get home for whatever reason that might be, then the industry needs to be able to facilitate that.”
Marsh’s stance flies in the face of former star midfielder Nick Dal Santo who believes the homesickness card is being played too often.
“You put your hand up to be drafted you’ve got to go anywhere that your picked and that’s a privilege,” Dal Santo told SEN Breakfast.
“This whole concept of players threatening to go home in two years, or wanting a longer contract or money to stay, I don’t like it.
“I can understand people wanting to go home but I wonder if we just throw out the term homesickness without actually getting to the crux of the issue.
“Maybe it’s just that a player wants to play in Melbourne or be closer to his family.”
While Marsh suggested loyalty was still a big part of football, he said the AFLPA was working on measures that would further erode it.
“There are currently rules preventing players from getting to the club of their choice automatically and that’s something we are continuing to work through, but we think that is completely reasonable,” he said.
“We believe a player should have the right to move.
“They sign a contract and they play as hard as they can for the length of that contract, but, if at the end of that they want to move on, they have the right to do that.”