WAFL clubs fume over pay leak
WAFL clubs fume over pay leak

WAFL clubs are furious at a WA Football Commission leak that has seen all official payments to league players this season disclosed to every other club.

And it is understood the payments show that at least one top-four club is on track to exceed the salary cap this year and may be forced to drop players to avoid a substantial breach.

The confidential payment details were contained in an email accidently sent to all clubs this month.

"It shows every club, every player, every game and every payment," a WAFL official said.

"Every cent of every player payment has been revealed to every other club."

Clubs have been gagged, with the commission calling in a major Perth legal firm to draft a confidentiality agreement. Several clubs have refused to sign the document and told _The Weekend West _ it was irrelevant once the financial details were exposed.

Commission chief executive Gary Walton insisted the leak had not done any damage to the standing of the competition or the confidence of the clubs.

"I don't believe any damage has been done because we acted very quickly and put the right processes in place to resolve the fact that the email went out," Walton said.

"I won't go into the how, who and why but in my mind the matter has been dealt with."

The spreadsheet sent to the clubs revealed all official payments made to about 260 league players nearly halfway into the season.

Some clubs have been able to use the information to extrapolate how much players would be paid for the entire season and whether the payments would push clubs over the salary cap.

AFL-aligned clubs East Perth and Peel have a salary cap of $182,000 this year. For the other seven clubs, the cap is $280,000.

No club was prepared to reveal individual payments but several said the leak could put at risk the players' confidence in the league and had the potential to create significant disharmony within clubs.

"There are very good reasons that player payments are kept confidential, especially within clubs," an official said. "We all hope that this information does not make its way through to the players but there is obviously a risk that this could occur."

WAFL clubs are required to supply weekly player payment reports to the commission, with a mid-season update required on June 30 when projected payments are balanced against those already paid.

A club's annual total player payment schedule must be lodged by November 1.

The leaked spreadsheet is understood to be a summary of all weekly payments as well as approved extras such as injury payments and sign-on fees.

Clubs can incur substantial penalties for late lodgement or erroneous player payment entries.

Swan Districts were fined $10,000 last year for a series of salary cap breaches in 2011 and West Perth were fined $5000 for an accounting error in their 2012 return.

Under the WAFL's new salary cap rules, a club can be fined up to $50,000, lose up to 16 premiership points and up to 20 player-list points for a first offence.

The leak comes only a few months after a significant restructure of the commission.

The West Australian

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