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AFL list sizes are likely to be trimmed by two next year however players left meetings with the AFL Players' Association on Tuesday without guarantees about list structures or total player payments for 2021.
The uncertainty surrounding what club lists will look like next year continues to drag on, causing exasperation for clubs and players alike. The free agency and player trade period windows are set to conclude without definitive answers, with sources suggesting clubs are desperate for clarity ahead of next month's national draft.
The AFLPA held virtual briefings with players on Tuesday in a bid to shed light on negotiations between the league and the union.
While a deal is yet to be locked away, sources familiar with the situation said lists were likely to drop by two spots from this year to next.
As it stands, clubs have 44 players on their lists (inclusive of senior listed and Category A rookies) as well as up to three Category B rookies.
Players forfeited around 30 per cent of their pay following this year's coronavirus-impacted season, and a resolution on a pay cut for next year is not yet forthcoming.
Some industry sources expect it will fall in the vicinity of a 10 per cent cut on the initial collective bargaining agreement stipulations.
Any revised deal will almost certainly be for just one year, with the league and union mindful of the uncertainty created by a COVID-19-affected world.
There is also a prospect that an agreement could be reached whereby players agree to a cut and then end up receiving more money should revenue exceed projections.
The protracted list size issue has already affected a raft of players around the league, many of whom have been left in limbo as clubs await confirmation on the situation.
Veteran ruckman Stefan Martin was traded from the Brisbane Lions to the Western Bulldogs on Tuesday in part because the Lions had been reluctant to offer him a new contract without knowing what lists would look like in 2021.
The AFLPA has been mindful that almost the entire industry has felt the pain of the pandemic's financial impact, with the football department soft cap slashed for next year and jobs being cut at AFL House.
Sydney chief executive Tom Harley told SEN earlier this week that the list size situation had complicated this year's trade period, which ends on Thursday night.
"There's a lot more to it than just the trades that most people see," Harley said.
"It's difficult not knowing what the list spots are and particularly when you're trading in future picks as well."
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