AFL soft cap boosted $750,000 by 2024

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The AFL will increase the soft salary cap on football department spending by $750,000 across the next two years, with some medical and mental health spending to be exempt from the new limits.

They announced it will increase by $500,000 in 2023 and $250,000 a year later, meaning the soft cap will kick in at $7.2 million in 2024.

Football department spending refers to staff such as coaches, list management, fitness and medical teams.

They've introduced minimum spend levels on medical and mental health resources that can't be shifted to other departments, but if clubs spend above those levels in areas such as club psychologists and Indigenous welfare officers, there are deductions available to reduce soft-cap impact.

The AFL noted spending on mental health and wellbeing resources has increased 28 per cent between 2019 and 2022, which they say is likely due to larger investment in psychologists, player development managers and Indigenous player development staff.

They also announced female and Indigenous staff members can have their salaries paid at least in-part outside the soft cap, as the organisation again pushes to increase diversity in its ranks.

Clubs also now have an allowance to fund professional development for footy department staff.

AFL executive member Travis Auld said clubs would need to continue showing discipline in their spending to ensure the health, wellbeing and development of players and staff is looked after.

"The existing structure of the soft cap policy has enabled the AFL to expand and enhance the level of mental health and wellbeing resources in the Clubs - both in quantum but also quality and consistency," he said.

"By putting rigour around the minimum requirements, we continue to prioritise the health and wellbeing of everyone, and should a club spend above the minimum amount in this space they can spend further on eligible resources and programs and this additional spend is fully deductible or excluded from the cap.

"These resources can and should be jointly accessed by the men's and women's programs. We also have equity of access requirements that mean clubs must demonstrate how the women's program is receiving access to these resources on a fair and equitable basis."

The AFLW soft cap policy will be reviewed after the upcoming season, which begins in August.

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