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Abstract

The Australian Football League (AFL) has operated a twin labour market control system of salary cap and draft since the mid-1980s. While the AFL can point to facts such as an increase in the number of clubs winning premierships since this time to justify their use, the players were still restricted in regard to playing for the club of their choice. This therefore led to a push from the players for free agency, which was introduced at the end of the 2012 season. Its main features are a two tiered system of restricted and unrestricted free agents, an eight year qualification period and compensation in the form of draft selections being granted by the AFL rather than coming from the club receiving the services of the free agent. It is suggested that the AFL had no choice but to introduce some form of free agency, though only time will tell whether the model adopted represents a balanced policy that serves the League, clubs and players fairly.

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