Cost of living allowance could be reinstated for Sydney Swans and GWS Giants, COLA, Extra Soft Cap Spending, Western Australia Winter Festival 2025, Extra Home Game, Midweek Tackle, Latest News

The AFL is reportedly considering reinstating the controversial cost of living allowance (COLA) for Sydney and GWS amid financial pressure on the Harbor City.

COLA, which granted Sydney and GWS an additional 9.8 per cent on their salary cap, was scrapped in 2014 after resistance from the powerful Victorian clubs.

Ten years on, Herald Sun journalist Sam Landsberger reports that NSW clubs are expected to get COLA again. However, it is believed that the additional funds will go towards the teams’ salary cap, not the salary cap.

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“I think Sydney and Greater Western Sydney have a great chance of restoring their COLA,” Landsberger explained on Fox Footy. Midweek entry.

“These were the four dirtiest letters in the game 10 years ago.

“I understand the AFL almost flagged this a couple of years ago. Out of nowhere, he was thwarted.

“So the Swans and Giants aren’t counting their chickens yet, but this is being seriously considered at league headquarters. I think it has strength and is going to create a great public debate between clubs like the one we had 10 years ago.

“Last time the clubs had an extra 9.8 percent in the salary cap. They have asked for more money in the salary cap and soft cap.

“I think there’s a good chance the TPP (total player payments/salary cap) gets eliminated, but I think they’re a really good opportunity to get some relief on the soft cap.

“That would help them pay their assistant coaches more money. “It is a lot of work to not only recruit assistants to Sydney but also retain them.”

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Landsberger detailed the financial pressures currently facing assistants at NSW clubs, including Ben Matthews who has been living alone for “five or six years”, Mark McVeigh who resides 90 minutes from the Swans base and assistant the Giants, Craig Jennings, who lives in a van.

“This is something I had to do,” added Jay Clark, a fellow Herald Sun reporter.

“The cost of living in Sydney is extraordinary. That’s why Jordan Dawson went from Sydney to Adelaide, the house he was able to buy cost half the money.

“Other clubs will absolutely hate him, though.”

Meanwhile, Herald Sun journalist Lauren Wood highlighted the AFL needs to tread carefully with COLA, suggesting it needs to be “really focused” on the soft cap.

“The assistant coaches and staff members in the football department were the ones who got by during Covid,” he said in Midweek entry.

“There were incredible cuts and burns to those types of budgets and salaries that have never really been recovered.

“If there was money floating around, I would love for it to go to people like them.”

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Clubs in the North will also reportedly retain their controversial talent academies.

In the west, Western Australian clubs will reportedly request an additional home game in 2025 amid the uproar over fixture equality.

Landsberger revealed WA clubs were left “furious” after Gather Round made them travel one more game, suggesting a winter festival in Perth from 2025 as a solution.

“(Dockers chief executive) Simon Garlick and (Eagles chief executive) Don Pyke sat down with Andre Dillon before the derby and the AFL recently completed its club visits,” he added.

“They want an extra game (in Perth). The AFL has a love affair with big events and festivals.

“That’s why I think the solution is to create this winter festival. On June 3 next year, Western Australia will have Western Australia Day.

“The idea is that two Victorian clubs would fly together and both the West Coast and Fremantle would host those clubs. Next weekend is the king’s birthday weekend in Victoria and they play crossover games.

“So an extra home game for them and something like a mini version of the Gather Round spread over two weekends. “I think it’s a very good chance of it happening.”