Annual review of WAFL Rules and Regulations

Wednesday, October 16, 2019 - 10:31 AM

The West Australian Football Commission has finalised its annual review of Rules and Regulations for the West Australian Football League following the conclusion of the 2019 Optus WAFL Premiership Season.

The annual review is an important part of the WAFC's focus to deliver a high standard, competitive and sustainable WAFL competition, where all clubs have an opportunity to play finals and win premierships.

 WAFC Executive Manager WAFL & Football Operations Scott Baker said that the 2019 review had focussed on the competitive balance of the WAFL to ensure it was a close and exciting competition every season.

 “We know fans want close matches, more upsets, and a showcase of the best talent on display. To achieve this, we will be implementing immediate rule changes for the 2020 season and considering a series of equalisation principals for the following year,” he said.

 “Competitive balance is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of the WAFL and its ability to attract and retain new fans, members, supporters and sponsors. We want everyone to attend games each week knowing that any club has a genuine chance of winning.”

“We have sought feedback from the WAFL clubs on a range of recommendations to ensure the competition remains competitive, sustainable and successful into the future, before finalising any decisions.”

 "Equalisation measures will now be implemented with the clear intent of closing the gap between the lower and higher placed clubs to continue to drive a more competitive and exciting competition.”

 “This includes some rules specific to Subiaco Football Club, in response to their dominance over the last decade, and calls for the WAFC to assist the lower placed clubs to reach the same heights.”

 “Factors such as Subiaco’s culture, professionalism and the unrelenting commitment from the whole playing group, have helped to establish their club as the benchmark, which can't be controlled by equalisation measures.”

“We have been clear that we do not want to implement measures that mean Subiaco will have to cut players from their list and tear at the fabric of the club. At the same time, we have considered options that would limit Subiaco from continuing to add out-of-zone recruits to their list, as a way of allowing other clubs to close the gap,” he said.

 Specific recruiting rules will be applied to Subiaco Football Club for 2020 allowing the club to retain or replace current players, but not recruit additional players that are above one (1) point in value, according to the WAFL Rules and Regulations.

 “We believe these measures will help spread the available talent amongst all WAFL clubs and contribute to competitive balance, while also supporting the foundation of the WAFL competition being built on developing and recruiting talent from local Districts.”

 “Our new talent development model, which was launched at the beginning of last season, supports this principle and over time, will continue to improve the quality of players coming through each WAFL club’s zone.”

In 2019, non-AFL aligned WAFL clubs had 76% of players on average coming from their local District, which is something the WAFC wishes to see increase further in coming years.

 For the 2020 season, the strategy to gradually reduce the Player Recruitment Points allocated to each club will encourage more home-grown talent to be added to each WAFL club’s list.

After reducing the baseline Player Recruitment Points allocation across the competition from 130 to 120 last year, the baseline will be reduced again to 100 points in 2020.

 “This will give clubs less points to use on interstate or non-District recruits that are worth up to 12 points and encourage them to focus more on developing local 1-point players,” Baker said.

"There will also be a reduction to the base allocation of interstate players allowed at each club from a maximum of seven (7) to six (6) players.

As part of equalisation measures, the ability will remain for the WAFC to adjust a club’s Player Recruitment Points allocation above 100 points or six (6) interstate players on an as needs basis to improve competitiveness.

The WAFC is also committed to implementing further equalisation measures ahead of the 2021 season. Some of the measures being considered include:

  • Setting a minimum percentage of local players on each WAFL list or per match, which supports the WAFL’s District Development model.
  • Introducing a cap on Non-District AFL players on each WAFL Club’s list.
  • A Soft Cap on Football Departments and football related spending.
  • Removing player points value reductions for long-serving recruits.
  • Recruiting restrictions based on the financial sustainability of clubs – if clubs do not break even or better or do not have cash reserves, their recruitment is restricted.
  • Continuing to vary player Player Recruitment Points based on each team’s ladder position.
  • Finalise the District Boundary Review and changes required to WAFL Club zones.

Importantly, these measures will require more work, research and consultation prior to being implemented to ensure they can support the effective delivery of an equalised competition.

SUMMARY OF AMENDMENTS TO WAFL RULES & REGULATIONS FOR 2020

WAFL Competition

Player Recruitment Point reductions – The overall baseline Player Recruitment Points cap reduced from 120 to 100 for Season 2020. (Clubs on 100 will include Claremont, Subiaco, South Fremantle and West Perth). In addition, Peel Thunder will be reduced to 80 points and West Coast 50 points.

  • Player Recruitment Point Concessions – Lower placed clubs will receive an allocation above 100 points to improve competitiveness. (Perth 110, East Fremantle 120, Swan Districts 120, East Perth 125)
  • Player Recruiting Restrictions –Subiaco Football Club will be allowed to retain or replace current players, but not recruit additional players that are above one (1) point in value for the 2020 season.
  • Interstate Players – Reduction to the base allocation of interstate players from seven (7) to a maximum of six (6) players per club.
  • Protected Players – Any player that played nine (9) or more league matches in the previous season and any player with a points value of five (5) or more must be listed at all times on their club’s protected player list.
  • Contracted Players – When clubs elevate player discussions to make an offer to a player, the financial details of this offer need to be lodged with the WAFC within 24 hours.
  • Compliance – Players must be a minimum Level 2 coach to be eligible for any coaching payments. Any payments or coaching contracts need to be approved by the WAFC.

WAFL Clubs

Claremont

  • Reduction from 120 to 100 Player Recruitment Points

East Fremantle

  • Reduction from 130 to 120 Player Recruitment Points

East Perth

  • Reduction from 140 to 125 Player Recruitment Points
  • Increase from 40 to 45 protected players
  • Maximum 7 players from interstate

Peel Thunder

  • Reduction from 100 to 80 Player Recruitment Points
  • Player list to be a minimum of 50 players
  • Maximum of four players with a points value of 5+
  • Protected list of 35 players plus a supplementary list of 5 protected players
  • Reserves games to be counted in determining finals eligibility of AFL-listed players

Perth

  • Reduction from 130 to 110 Player Recruitment Points
  • 45 protected players as per 2019

South Fremantle

  • Reduction from 120 to 100 Player Recruitment Points

Subiaco

  • Reduction from 120 to 100 Player Recruitment Points
  • Can only recruit Local District players or players from outside their District that haven’t previously played any WAFL League games, or haven’t played any WAFL League games in the past 24 months.
  • Can relist AFL de-listed players from their District within the 100 points cap.
  • Can replace any multiple point player (one for one) who leaves the club following the 2019 season with a player based on their player points value in accordance with the WAFL Rules & Regulations. Cannot use any residual points to recruit over and above this rule.
  • One (1) point players can only be replaced by another one (1) point player.

Swan Districts

  • Will continue to be allocated 120 Player Recruitment Points

West Coast

  • Reduction from 60 to 50 Player Recruitment Points

West Perth

  • Reduction from 120 to 100 Player Recruitment Points