AFL legend Warren Tredrea has slammed the AFL Players’ Association for its role in the bitter pay dispute between the players and the league, urging the stars to lead the way.
The AFL is understood to want players to take a 79 percent pay cut over the next seven months, while the players are hell-bent on taking only 50 percent for eight weeks.
According to Tredrea, the biggest issue is to ensure the future of the game moving forward, and the best way to do that is for the players to sacrifice some of their salary to assist the AFL during it’s biggest financial crisis.
“They’re kidding themselves. Absolutely kidding themselves,” he told Nine’s Talk of the Town.
“Last time I checked, how many games have we played? One. We need 22 more rounds and we’ve got finals to go if we’re going to get anywhere near what they expect.”
While Tredrea agreed that the players had been “smashed in the public forum” over the pay dispute, he said it was important to put things into perspective as the entire world suffers from job losses as a result of COVID-19.
“At the moment they’re sitting there going, ‘If I take 50 percent and I’m on $1 million, I’m still on half a million dollars’. Have they seen outside?” he said.
“I know a publican in Adelaide not far from where I live, they marched 200 staff. We’ve seen Virgin march staff today. Everyone is losing their jobs.
“Pubs are shutting, clubs are shutting, no one can do anything and we’ll soon be in lockdown and players are wondering about what percentage they’re going to have.”
Tredrea said that he wanted players to take the initiative when it came to pay cuts, as Geelong coach Chris Scott did when he pledged to give up his entire salary for the year.
“They need to lead the way on this. They can always work out the parameters on how much money’s in the pool,” he said.
“Anyone who earns more than $300,000 in the game has to be willing to take a 50 percent pay cut. That includes players, coaches and CEOs.
“The AFL executive has said they’ll drop 20 percent, there’s got to be more than 20 percent. The CEO is worth $1.7 million last time I saw.
“People need to realise this is going to fold and the game is going to be gone. People also don’t realise that the names Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Essendon, the colours, designs, they’re all owned by the AFL.
“If the business goes down, that all goes down with it. Step up people.”