Ian Prendergast has defended free agency in the AFL after the system received criticism from veteran coach Mick Malthouse.
AFL Players Association CEO Ian Prendergast has defended free agency and says the system will assist smaller clubs to sign big-name players.
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse yesterday slammed free agency, saying it would create a two-tiered system which would widen the gap between the haves and have-nots after the AFLPA announced a proposal to shorten the free agency eligibility period from eight to six years.
Prendergast explained that whilst he understood Malthouse’s concerns that free agents would only want to go to clubs with a chance of winning a premiership, he said weaker clubs would attract players because they would provide a viable long-term option.
“I’m suggesting that players at a younger age will buy into a slighter longer-term vision, because if a club like Melbourne can explain to you the vision that they have over the next two or three years, as a slightly younger player you might be more likely to see that as a more viable option,” Prendergast said on SEN Radio.
Prendergast said that a six-year model would create a more balanced system.
“The evidence is based on the experience overseas, where they say it’s all good and well to have competitive measures in place where you share revenue and allow these clubs to be able to spend 100 per cent of the cap, but they also have to be able to access talent,” Prendergast said.
“We’ve seen with the draft and trade system that it’s a very slow burn for these clubs to regenerate their lists.
“The Bulldogs and St Kilda are probably going through that process at the moment.
“But they’re also saying in the next couple of years when they do have a capacity to spend 100 per-cent of the cap, they’re going to use free agency as a tool to attract players.”