A-League clubs will be able to have up to three high-profile players outside of the salary cap from next season, while W-League players will earn a well-deserved pay rise and gain access to improved high-performance areas.
A new five-year collective bargaining agreement has been struck between Professional Footballers Australia and the Australian Professional Leagues, with the aim to improve wages and drive up playing standards in the country’s elite leagues.
The W-League floor, which is the lowest amount a club can pay to its squad, will rise by 32 per cent over the next five years.
Last season’s floor of $294,000 will grow to $315,000 next season, with the final figure to settle at $390,000 by the end of the five-year deal.
The W-League cap will be $450,000 next season, with the ceiling to be reviewed annually.
The A-League floor, which was originally set at around $2 million last season before the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hit, will rise to $2.25 million next season.
The salary cap will be $2.5 million next season, and will rise $50,000 each campaign for the next two seasons after that.
A-League clubs are currently allowed two marquee players whose salaries fall outside of the cap.
From next season, clubs will also be able to add a “designated player” whose salary will also not count in the cap.
This “designated player” must have a salary that falls between $300,000 and $600,000 per season.
The fresh CBA is aligned with the new five-year broadcast agreement with Ten and its subsidiary Paramount, which is reportedly worth $200 million in cash and commercial contra.
The CBA aims to deliver common high performance and medical standards across both the W-League and A-League in a bid to improve gender equality.
It has promised to deliver better standards that include improvements in training venues, travel and accommodation, high performance staffing, and player workloads.
The investment comes after APL took control of the country’s elite football leagues from Football Australia.
“When APL took control of the leagues, we promised it would herald a new era of investment and this agreement shows the progress that has already been made,” managing director of APL Danny Townsend said.
“This is a clear example of what can be achieved when we work together with a common vision to realise the potential of Australian football.”
October 30 was earmarked as the start for the A-League season, with the W-League to kick off two weeks later.
Those dates could now be pushed back given the COVID-19 outbreaks gripping Australia.