WA Football Commission chief executive Michael Roberts says recent salary cap breaches in the WAFL are a ‘line in the sand’ moment for the competition and has since opened communication. 

Over half the WAFL clubs have been found to have breached the salary cap this century – with East Fremantle and South Fremantle being the most recent. 

This season, East Fremantle started their premiership defence four premiership points down and were fined $10,000 while last season, South Fremantle was penalised $25,000 and docked eight premiership points after audits found they had exceeded the limit. 

Speaking on Sports Breakfast, Roberts says he is confident clubs are more collaborative and adhering to the Total Player Payment agreement.

“What the whole breaches over the last couple of years did was a bit of a line in the sand for clubs to make sure that they’re open and talking to us,” he said.

“There’s a lot of opportunities for clubs to reward players outside the salary cap through other employment opportunities… If we know about it, at least we can work with the club on it. 

“Where the clubs have been caught out the past few years, is that they’ve gone and made decisions themselves and made assumptions themselves about what should and shouldn’t be in the salary cap. 

“The clubs now are a lot more open and collaborative around the TPP, so they’re asking a lot of questions, which is exactly what

we wanted. We’re confident that everyone now is adhering to it and at least in control of what should be in the TPP.”

The WAFL salary cap was decreased in 2020, as a result of Covid-19 and has yet to return to pre-covid levels. 

During COVID, all state leagues agreed to have a similar cost cap, and then gradually build from there.

The current cap sits at $245,000, however, WAFL clubs have called for an increase to match other state leagues. The SANFL has risen to approximately $275,00 plus an extra $40,000 per club for coaches.

Roberts says while the cap has had its ‘small increases,’ the WAFL will have a clearer image of where the salary cap will be going

over the next few seasons. 

“We’ve made some alterations to enable clubs to reward players. There’s more opportunity for players now to coach…for them to do day-to-day work for clubs and community activations that they get paid for outside of the cap,” he said. 

“It’s been something that is on the agenda regularly with the WAFL clubs. We’ve also been working on some issues with the tax office that will enable players to take home more money moving forward rather than having to lose half of it to tax. 

“There are a few things we expect that over the next few years, it will increase. We’ve got to maintain and keep competitive with the other state leagues. 

“We think that before the end of the season, we’ll have a clear understanding of where our salary cap is going to be over the next few years and we expect that will increase.”

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