Clubs refuse to submit paperwork

central highlandsWeekly Times | THREE Central Highlands Football League clubs have set themselves on a collision course with the AFL over player payments.

The clubs — Dunnstown, Gordon and Springbank — have refused to submit paperwork detailing player contracts and a player payments budget by last Sunday’s deadline.

The clubs said they were happy to tell AFL Goldfields of the amount they were paying players, which they all said was below the league’s threshold of $105,000.

But AFL Victoria has warned that although there “may be local flexibility” to handle procedural and payment breaches this year since the framework is new, “it should be noted that full ­enforcement provisions may be applied should this be warranted”.

The clubs said signing the documentation could expose them to tax compliance issues and created more work for ­volunteers.

They argue, and want a tax ruling, that players are contractors, not employees, of a club, which would remove the need to apply tax, superannuation, leave and other benefits to player payments.

“It’s the amount of work it creates, and, yes, you can say you should be doing it now anyway, and, yes, we probably should be,” Gordon’s Peter Clifford said.

“Nobody does though, because it’s insignificant amounts and in ­reality the tax department isn’t going to come ... they’ve got bigger fish to fry.

“But if it’s all sitting there in black and white, what’s to stop them coming in ... you have that called into question and then that also calls into question things for your business.

“People aren’t prepared to put themselves at that risk.”

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