AFL officials and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire remain at loggerheads following robust discussions over a possible tax on rich teams.
Thursday's meeting of the equalisation sub-committee was aiming to finalise a plan to present to clubs at next Tuesday's season launch in Adelaide.
The sub-committee includes McGuire and Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold, who represent two of the most financially powerful clubs in the AFL.
League chief Andrew Demetriou said it had been a day of vigorous debate.
"We had a very lengthy meeting today where we worked through what are obviously some complex issues," Demetriou told afl.com.au.
"There was some vigorous debate as you'd expect, but we made some progress today.
"I'm sure there will still be some robust debate, but the 2015 season is the date we've always been working towards, so we're on track."
McGuire described the talks as frank.
"When people are talking about taking money off you there's never any defusing, I can promise you," McGuire said.
"But we are all working in the spirit of trying to build the great game of Australian rules football."
The AFL website said the league was proposing a cap of between $20 and 21 million on football department spending, a luxury tax of up to 50 cents in every dollar spent above that cap and a tax on overall club revenue.
The veterans' allowance and Sydney's controversial cost-of-living allowance are also under scrutiny.
St Kilda's new coach Alan Richardson says low-spending clubs can punch above their weight but they can't win a flag.
Richardson is well-placed to wade into the debate, after his key role as director of coaching at Port Adelaide who surged from 14th to fifth in 2013.
Richardson has had assistant-coaching experience at Carlton, Collingwood and Essendon and has also worked with more modest budgets at Port and now the Saints.
"Clearly the correlation between ultimately winning one and spend is fairly significant," Richardson said.
"In my time at Port Adelaide last year -- not a big-spending club -- you can certainly be thereabouts.
"I don't subscribe to the fact that if you don't have the spend, you're going to finish on the bottom.
"But in terms of ultimately and being able to make sure you have everything covered to give yourself the best chance possible ... then I think you do need to get as even as possible."
Equalisations sub-committee members also include Western Bulldogs president Peter Gordon, alongside chief executives Brendon Gale (Richmond), Trevor Nisbett (West Coast) and Keith Thomas (Port).