The AFL has published its Covid-19 vaccination policy, which “in general terms” will require all AFL and AFLW players and football program staff to be vaccinated before the start of their respective seasons.
The policy, formed in conjunction with the AFL Players Association, requires all AFL players and football program staff to be fully immunized by February 18, 2022.
Those who for no good reason do not comply with the policy will not be able to visit their club or AFL premises to practice or play.
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AFL chief football executive Andrew Dillon believes a “small handful of players” are likely to be affected by their decision not to get the shot.
“At the moment we are collecting the information, but I am very sure that the vast majority of players are already vaccinated or intend to be vaccinated, so I think we are talking about a small handful of players and we will continue. to work with these players and provide them with education and health advice, ”said Dillon.
“It’s really hard to go into specifics but I think by the time we come to the end and there are different dates when players need to be vaccinated, but I think education and guidance continuous, I’m sure it will be a small number.
“We worked very closely with AFLPA on the four options. Any player who does not get vaccinated, there will be an individual circumstance that he will have to deal with, so it will be up to that club and that player to work with the AFL. and AFLPA as to what is the right result for this player. “
On top of that, the league presented four options for clubs to deal with such players:
– Transfer the Player to the list of inactive players (which means that the Player can be replaced) and pay the Player 25% of (for AFLW) his contractual salary or (for AFL) the minimum CBA base salary;
– Keep the player on their play list (which means the player cannot be replaced) and pay the player no less than 25% of (for AFLW) their contractual salary or (for AFL) 25% of the minimum basic CBA salary;
– Terminate the Player’s gaming contract with the Player’s consent;
– Exercise all the rights that the Club may legally have to terminate the Player’s gaming contract, but these rights must not be exercised before May 18, 2022.
The latter essentially means that players can be written off if they are not vaccinated by May 18, 2022.
AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh said the player’s body made it clear “the importance of vaccinations as part of a safe workplace and community and as a way out of our current lock cycle “.
“In saying this, our point of view is that vaccinations are an individual decision. However, it has become evident in recent weeks that unvaccinated players will not be able to meet their contractual obligations due to various state border restrictions and new worker requirements in Victoria. Through our player meetings, players were made aware that this was a possible scenario.
“Therefore, in working on this policy with the AFL, our goal was to agree to positions that provide players with clarity, appropriate time frames to make personal decisions about vaccination, an ability to review policy if Government guidelines change and financially support those who make the tough decisions to walk away from their playing careers. The agreed policy provides all of this.
This month Adelaide AFLW Premiership player Demi Varnhagen reportedly told the club she was not yet willing to get the shot, becoming the first known player in the league to oppose the jab .
Melbourne prime minister striker Tom McDonald said after being vaccinated that it is “ethically wrong to force people to undergo a medical procedure”.