Geelong star Patrick Dangerfield has accused AFL chief Gillon McLachlan of disrespecting the players as the league’s pay impasse continues.
McLachlan this week declined an invitation from the AFL Players Association to attend a summit in Torquay, instead sending lieutenants Ray Gunston and Andrew Dillon.
Negotiations between the two parties on a new collective bargaining agreement have stalled, raising the prospect of industrial action during the AFL pre-season.
Dangerfield, a member of the AFLPA board, says he was disappointed by McLachlan’s decision not to attend the summit.
“The AFL have been really difficult in coming to the table and haven’t spoken to the PA in the past month,” Dangerfield said on Friday.
“To get the opportunity today has been wonderful, albeit without the CEO in attendance.
“I think internally, there were some disappointed players who have flown across the country in order to be here yesterday and today. We were perhaps looking for a little bit more respect than we got.”
The players are seeking a fixed percentage of defined football revenue, which excludes government grants and money raised through poker machines.
But the AFL are holding firm against the change, which would likely lead to a significant increase in player salaries.
Dangerfield has warned that a player strike during the AFL pre-season competition remains an option if a deal can’t be reached.
AFLPA president Matthew Pavlich is confident the two parties can eventually reach agreement but said the league needed to come to the table.
“This is a considered and pragmatic approach, certainly from our perspective, and it seems that way from the AFL as well,” he said.
“But when we can’t get to the negotiating table and we can’t talk, it sort of leaves us scratching our heads a little bit.”
Former AFL boss Wayne Jackson this week accused the players union of being greedy, saying the call for a fixed share of revenue was “nonsense”.
“The players are terrifically rewarded at the present time,” he told FiveAA radio.
“For players to think that they should be getting 10 per cent increases year-on-year when society generally gets one or two per cent if they’re lucky … the players are not really thinking about what’s happening in the real world.”