Sponsorship rules missing common cents

Jason Akermanis

Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 09:26am
 

IF YOU are lucky enough in this game of AFL, you may be one of the few to pass the three-season mark.

This is where the average player stops. Or, maybe I should say, this is the average career for a player.

If you get past this point, you may be deemed marketable, maybe even become the subject of personal offers from sponsors. Which would be a short, and small, bonus for your talent.

It can be very difficult to earn extra money as a footballer, with the salary cap prohibiting many such transactions.

It’s understandable, too, given the stories that have gone around footy over the years.

I remember there was a yarn, which I know was never proven, that one club’s major sponsor was paying a player’s wife a tidy six-figure sum for two or three days a week.

There was also the one, again unproven, about a player’s partner also earning six figures answering phones at the club’s headquarters.

Clubs using outside means to prop up the wages of their stars used to go on everywhere.

The AFL cracked down on it to ensure the richer clubs did not have an unfair advantage. Its action stopped rorting.

The AFL and the clubs protect their major sponsors well. A couple of years ago I was approached to do a deal with Vodafone. But the deal was not allowed because our club’s major sponsor was AAPT.

It makes sense because other companies could just poach high-profile players. But if AAPT or the major sponsor wanted to use the players or a player, then that was just as hard. Mostly the clubs couldn’t be bothered because the AFL makes the club go to great lengths to show that the deal is legitimate.

There will always be deals for players. Really, it is impossible to stop and it can make the difference in getting quality players.

Some clubs may talk crap to get players over, while others simply show them the money or at least where else to get it.

Our careers are so short that chances like these don’t come up too often. So why can’t the players be utilised more?

I know the AFL will say it is better these days. Well, it would want to be. After all, the clubs complained a few years back about the exact same thing.

Is it unrealistic to think sponsors want to be involved with the players? I know of instances where players couldn’t sign personal deals to wear a certain brand of boot simply because their club had already secured that brand.

These particular players were wearing the products every weekend in the games.

What is wrong here?

The AFL also wants to know if you have received advice or favourable information about investments. Come on!

Networking is always going to happen and players aren’t that stupid. If they can get ahead, they will. It is about time the game moved on and made it a little easier for the few to get what they can, while they can.




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