Essendon trade moves and the secret 'COLA'-style payments people still don't understand

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DrEvil_

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 21, 2014
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Quick version : The AFL allowed Essendon to deliver big payments outside the salary cap in the form of legal settlements probably giving them a massive advantage over other clubs still to this day.

Long version: Essendon have done absolutely nothing wrong as they simply followed the AFL's directives. This is not the 'supplements saga', this is more like COLA. It was AFL, whether intentionally or incompetently, compromising the competition again.

The reason it's interesting to bring it up now is that generally people didn't understand the possible implications at the time and still don't. They didn't seem to get that it could allow Essendon to retain (almost) all of its gun players and young talent while raiding genuine talent elsewhere for a number of years. And that is what we are starting to really see now - seemingly no pressure to retain wanted (from outside) players and the ability to go after multiple big signings in consecutive years.

Essentially Essendon was allowed to make discretionary payments to players outside the cap who they were simultaneously trying to keep contracted at the club and negotiating salaries with, with the only oversight being that Essendon had to pay 'market value'. This means they couldn't take the absolute piss with the cap, but it did mean that they could easily free up extra cash for each player and allow further room to maneuver with front-loaded and back-loaded contracts. It reduced the likelihood of paying overs for required players, helping list management. This means the effects were always going to last for many years after the payments.

Collingwood would love to pay Tom Lynch a 3 million dollar settlement if he stubbed his toe while meeting Bucks, pay him a bit less on his contract than otherwise and use the spare cash to help fend off any future plays for Stephenson. A settlement is just a payment from a club to a player outside the cap. It's ridiculous that essentially only Jake Niall in the media realised this was a problem at the time (but even he couldn't see how inadequate the 'fix' was) and other clubs have screwed up badly by not pushing back on the AFL.

Lastly, someone will post that these were just insurance payments - this is a lie. Insurance covered SOME of the payment amounts, but Essendon was paying discretionary amounts to different players from its own pocket.
Minor correction, drug scandal, not supplements saga.
 

DapperDon

Waiting for Essendon to arrive
Oct 4, 2006
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This pretty much sums it up - wed all be a lot more surprised if Essendon were not gaming the system.

An example with zero evidence - Hurley was a minute from signing with the Dogs until something changed his mind. I would be astounded if compensation payments did not form part of conversations :think:
He actually signed with the Dogs, but we sent Gatto around and he burned the contract then we gave Hurley 100mill

Then we went to Africa and got some blood diamonds
 

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DapperJong

Hall of Famer
Feb 11, 2015
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indeed, and it took decades for us to prosper again. That was only one guy cheating.

I think theres a lesson in that for all of us.
err Dusty literally thanked Charles when he received his Norm Smith
 

Bunk Moreland

Hall of Famer
Sep 22, 2011
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So firstly, do you think if Essendon players were told that they could not negotiate and receive compensation payments until they left Essendon, that more would've left? If you agree, then you would have to agree that on some level, player willingness to stick by Essendon was at least on some level related to compensation (and I think anyone would be downright delusional to not agree).

So if you take it one step further, you realise that happiness with compo negotiations is already impacting contract negotiations prior to any dodgy deals being done. Essendon realizes it is pissing players off by going too hard with compo, so it is already using a financial incentive to keep the peace.

Then of course there's all sorts of ways to frame conversations without even sounding that dodgy and still make it clear.

Did the AFL even know player compensation amounts? They are confidential legal settlements and the AFL only said it would check for dodgy low contract amounts.
No, you’re shifting the goalposts.

The players got compensation, yes. It could’ve been $10k, $100k or $10m.

Nobody is arguing they received compensation. All players got it - those still at Essendon, those who weren’t, those who had re-signed, those who hadn’t.

Your thread is about how it was some sort of tool to circumvent the salary cap, thus giving Essendon an advantage. The salary cap is an equalisation tool across all clubs.

So what you’re trying to say is, Essendon paid players more compensation in exchange for staying at Essendon. Paying players an amount that they couldn’t be paid at other clubs. Like COLA.

How on earth would that have happened? As you’ve been told, the players legal team - which represented players at EFC and player at other clubs - negotiated the settlements. You think they accepted lower amounts for the like of Ryder and Monfries, because Essendon weren’t trying to re-sign them?

Particularly when, apart from anything else, their own payment was a cut of the compensation?
 

Slartibartfast

Club Legend
Jan 16, 2016
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Folded up, causing the afl to lose millions and a giant fan base to be lost to the game all because a foamer on the internet can not distinguish between a club and the terrible people who were running it at the time
Yep, not a good result but thats what would have happened without the AFLs manipulation.
 

Ambrosia

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 11, 2010
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I thought everyone was saying we were paying overs for Hooker, Hurley and Heppell at the time.

Also where does losing Hibberd to Melbourne when they came with more money fit into this narrative?
 

Linda Lovelace

Club Legend
Apr 24, 2013
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No, you’re shifting the goalposts.

The players got compensation, yes. It could’ve been $10k, $100k or $10m.

Nobody is arguing they received compensation. All players got it - those still at Essendon, those who weren’t, those who had re-signed, those who hadn’t.

Your thread is about how it was some sort of tool to circumvent the salary cap, thus giving Essendon an advantage. The salary cap is an equalisation tool across all clubs.

So what you’re trying to say is, Essendon paid players more compensation in exchange for staying at Essendon. Paying players an amount that they couldn’t be paid at other clubs. Like COLA.

How on earth would that have happened? As you’ve been told, the players legal team - which represented players at EFC and player at other clubs - negotiated the settlements. You think they accepted lower amounts for the like of Ryder and Monfries, because Essendon weren’t trying to re-sign them?

Particularly when, apart from anything else, their own payment was a cut of the compensation?
Discretionary settlements. Essendon could negotiate to pay more or less depending on the player. They had to pay some amount to every player, but could pay more to others. It's really not hard to understand.

Negotiations with some players were settled more easily than others. Note these players, like Jake Carlisle, were not current Essendon players. So yes, player lawyers were doing their best - what matters is how much Essendon were willing to get tough in negotiations.

Essendon lawyers work for Essendon - I mean. On top of that, Slater and Gordon state that the CEO himself was involved directly in negotiations.

You can believe that Essendon and player managers each didn't try to leverage the two negotiations (Essendon to retain players for lower cap space, players to maximize total payments) but to suggest they couldn't have easily done it makes no sense.
 
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