The AFL is on the brink of a major revamp, with the AFL Commission’s next major review expected to be released before the end of this month.
The AFL’s executive committee met on Tuesday and will decide whether to implement a three-year plan to overhaul the league, with key changes likely to include a change to the draft, a ban on the home-and-away series, the introduction of a three and five-year contracts, and the abolition of the “home-and of-away” format.
While it’s unclear whether a three year plan will be implemented, it is understood the plan will include the creation of an AFL-wide structure that would allow clubs to compete in their own home-state and interstate competitions, as well as the ability to create a new state league to compete with the A-League.
While the two biggest changes likely include the introduction and expansion of the home and away series, it’s understood the draft will be removed, with clubs only able to draft players from other state competitions.
This would mean a number of teams, including Adelaide and Collingwood, will be able to pick up players who would otherwise have been unavailable to them.
It is understood this change will mean a “small number of interstate players” could be added to the league in the future, with two interstate clubs, Collingwoods and Port Adelaide, currently competing in the A League.
This will also likely include changes to the AFLPA rules, with teams able to choose a single player for each home and of-home series and also having the option to pick players from all three interstate competitions.
In addition, it will be possible for clubs to pick from a pool of players who are not eligible to play in interstate competitions if they are playing in the AFL, but also for players to be able pick from interstate players that they are not allowed to pick in their AFL matches.
While a home-of-a-state format is likely to remain in place, the change to how the AFL awards home- and away-sides will see it be possible to award home-siders the same number of home-states as the interstate sides.
This, it has been suggested, would result in an increase in the number of games played in a home state and potentially a significant increase in attendance.
However, with home-usps having a much higher average attendance of 4,000 per game, this would have a significant impact on the amount of money clubs can make, as their average attendance will only be slightly lower.
While there have been some concerns around the effect on interstate competition, the AFL has said that it is still in the process of developing the rules to be used by all teams.
There has also been a suggestion the change would create a “huge gap” between interstate and interstate teams, with only the top four teams in each state playing in each other’s states.
However the AFL believes that the structure will help to bring more games to the national game.
A change to home-schools would also be possible, with it being possible for a club to create their own academy, allowing it to compete against interstate clubs for players.
However with the introduction in the past of “home” state-based competitions, there has been a belief that the change could create a huge gap in competition, with fewer teams being able to field a home side.