Shane Warne's ingenious plan to solve AFL pay crisis

Chris Young
Sports Reporter
Shane Warne believes AFL players should offer to loan their salary to the league as a way of shoring up the league's finances. (Photo by Mike Egerton/PA Images via Getty Images)

Shane Warne has weighed into the ongoing and fierce debate about pay cuts for AFL players, suggesting a loan system could be a way for the league to shore up their short-term finances.

Arguments about the players’ role in the pay saga have raged since up to 80 per cent of staff at each of the 18 AFL clubs were stood down with varying levels of pay, following the suspension of the season doe to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Included in club staff do be stood down were most assistant coaches, with Geelong head coach Brad Scott offering to forgo his entire pay packet until the league resumes.

The players agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut earlier this week, but league legend Leigh Matthews believed they should have given up more - sparking a back and forth with Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt.

As debate continues, Warne believes players loaning the entirety of their salary, on the proviso it be paid back in full over a number of years, could aid the league’s short term finances.

“A loan system where all the players might say ‘we’ll take a base number’ – whatever that figure is that everyone can determine and what is fair – ‘and then above that you (AFL) can have it all’,” Warne suggested on Fox Footy Live.

“‘You can have it all the AFL, but we want to be paid back in three years’ time in instalments’.”

Shane Warne wary of AFL becoming divided over pay

Warne cautioned both the AFL and the Players’ Association against making any rash decisions and turning an already testy situation into a volatile one.

The cricket legend and die-hard St Kilda fan said the long-term future of the game, after an unprecedented crisis, was most important.

“The goal is to keep the AFL strong and healthy for a long period of time and if you can do that and you all work towards that then I think you’ll come out with the right answer,” Warne said.

“But a loan system to me is something that I think could be worthwhile or worth exploring.”