Outgoing AFL Coaches Association CEO Mark Brayshaw admits there is some lingering tension between coaches and players, given the difference in their COVID-related pay cuts.
While the players got away with a nine per cent reduction in the salary cap, the soft cap, tied to coaches and football department staff, was slashed by 37 per cent.
This has greatly shifted the way teams operate, with coaches let go across the league.
Brayshaw said there is some quiet “resentment” about the difference between the pay cuts.
“I don’t think it’s fair to say the coaches took a disproportionate share, but footy departments did,” the AFLCA CEO told SEN’s Whateley.
“One of the issues the game has to face is that the players, there’s a handful fewer players, but one in three coaches aren’t there.
“So the work hasn’t changed, there’s effectively two-third of the staff to do the same work, in some cases they’ve also taken a juicy pay cut, which you have to live with.
“I think the coaches are going to have to draw a line and say ‘I can’t do it’, certain things they might’ve done in the past, and I know city hall is reviewing the soft cap because the players’ formula landed at a quarter of the cut.
“A hell of a lot of work went into that project last year with presidents and chief executives and a couple of coaches involved and the league.
“I mean, it was a good faith exercise that landed on a big pay cut to soft caps and it wasn’t mirrored three or four months later with the players.
“I think it’s fair to say it is (a source of tension). There was bewilderment at the announcement, but in fairness (Gillon McLachlan) has undertaken a review of it and I think it’s next month.
“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a bit of resentment about the fact that we were all in this together and there’s a big gap between those two numbers.”
When asked if he hoped AFL CEO McLachlan’s review into the soft cap cut would result in more money being put back into it, Brayshaw said: “Yeah I am. It’s in the players’ best interest as well”.