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AFL women happy with improved pay deal

AAP logoAAP 9/11/2016 Michael Ramsey

Players in the new women's AFL league say a revamped pay deal will ensure no one is left behind as the game grows.

The minimum wage for participants covering a 22-week period - including seven rounds of home and away games and the grand final - has been lifted by 70 per cent from $5000 to $8500 in 2017 following a backlash against the original offer.

Priority signings and top draft picks will earn $12,000, up from $10,000, while the 16 marquee players also get a $2000 increase to $27,000 under the improved deal nutted out between the AFL and the players association.

The deal also covers football boots and runners, an interstate travel allowance, income protection insurance, out-of-pocket medical expenses and childcare for mothers of infants.

Melbourne marquee player Daisy Pearce says it was vital to ensure future generations weren't prevented from playing because of financial constraints.

"A part of me felt uncomfortable about (the negotiations) because you do feel like you've got that responsibility to just get it going," she said on Thursday.

"But to make sure the future is sustainable and bright for players and (ensure) money and that kind of thing is never a reason why a girl doesn't play is obviously really important. We do have to set up a framework that's fair."

With players classified as part-time athletes, the minimum wage has been set at a pro-rata amount of the male rookie salary.

The minimum wage for full-time players in the national netball league was this year increased to $27,375, while female cricketers earn at least $18,000 if they play both the one-day and Twenty20 domestic leagues.

AFLPA chief Paul Marsh says the pay rise will help to cover the cost of private health insurance, which is not included in the deal.

Male footballers aren't automatically entitled to private health insurance either but are generally covered by their clubs.

"I think it's competitive," Marsh said.

"It's a domestic sport in its first year. We're comfortable, the players are comfortable and I think it stands up pretty well."

AFL general manager of game and market development Simon Lethlean says the league's multi-million dollar investment will pay dividends.

"(This is) a start-up that will not pay for itself in the near future," he said.

"It'll pay for itself though in other ways, and that's diversifying our workforce, engaging more female fans and hopefully an influx of girls in Auskick next year that can see role models and see a pathway for themselves in footy."

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