Greater Western Sydney CEO Dave Matthews says the AFL has provided minimal help to New South Wales clubs trying to juggle their salary cap.
The Giants’ financial squeeze has been well documented, and Matthews believes the abolition of the COLA (cost of living allowance) has had a trickle down influence on GWS.
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“Over seven years, probably in the first three years our funding model meant we were about two and a half million dollars under the player payments limit,” Matthews told SEN Breakfast.
“We just didn’t have a funding model that supported us being able to pay up to the limit.
“As we started to build our business and get ourselves in a position to be able to do that, based on I think a lot of lobbying and some early panic from Victorian clubs about how strong we were going to be, there’s the removal of COLA.
“COLA was removed essentially off the back of Kurt Tippett and Buddy Franklin going to the Swans in consecutive years.
“We had nothing to do with either of those two decisions but the knock-on effect when you remove COLA from the Swans was to remove it from us.
“It was phased out over 2015 and 2016, completely removed last year, that’s three million dollars of purchasing power that goes.
“I’m strong on the fact the cost of living in Sydney, and particularly for an expansion team, you need that additional money because the sort of pressure that comes on us to retain our players.
“I think it’s an appropriate level of investment that should have been maintained.”
Matthews also outright rejected any suggestions GWS has mismanaged their salary cap, while saying the AFL needs to provide greater assistance to their foundation clubs.
“I see it as a responsible approach,” he said.
“There is no mismanagement here, it’s the consequence of being forced to crunch what is a very strong list into a smaller cap than what was anticipated.
“Victorian media or Victorian clubs take some delight in seeing players come home from the Gold Coast or the Giants, but ultimately it defeats the purpose of the AFL’s investment to try and set up a competition that’s well represented in New South Wales and Queensland.”
Listen to Dave Matthews chat with Garry Lyon, Tim Watson and Bob Murphy on SEN Breakfast in the player below