The Salary Cap facilitates competitive balance and parity between A-League Clubs by ensuring that the playing talent is distributed amongst the Clubs. In doing so, this increases the attraction of the competition to fans, sponsors and broadcast partners.
The Salary Cap also safeguards the economic viability of the A-League by ensuring that Clubs are not put in a position where they are forced to spend beyond their financial capabilities in order to stay competitive on the field.
The A-League Salary Cap is $2.1 million for all Clubs (excl. Macarthur FC and Western United FC) for the 2020/21 Season. The A-League Salary Cap for Macarthur FC and Western United FC is $2.433 million for the 2020/21 Season. All Clubs must spend at least the Salary Floor which is $1.7 million.
The Salary Cap applies to the 18 to 23 Players that Clubs have registered to their A-League Player Roster. Unless specifically exempt, all payments and benefits (e.g. cars, accommodation, etc) provided by a Club to a Player are included in the Club’s Salary Cap.
Players can receive payments from Clubs outside the Salary Cap in certain circumstances. These ‘exemptions’ or ‘allowances’ incentivise Clubs to spend in specific strategic areas such as attracting marketable world class players to the A-League (Designated or Guest Players), retaining long-serving Players on multi-year contracts (Loyalty Players) or encouraging the development of young Australian Players (Homegrown Players).
The following discretionary payments are outside the Salary Cap:
- Designated Players – A Club can spend an unlimited amount on two Players (Foreign or Australian) it nominates as Designated Players;
- Guest Player – A Club can spend an unlimited amount on one Guest Player who must satisfy the prescribed marketability criteria. A Guest Player is restricted to a maximum of 14 A-League matches;
- Homegrown Players – A Club can spend an unlimited amount on 4 Australian Players aged 23 or younger that have come through the Club’s youth system;
- Loyalty Players – A Club can spend an unlimited amount across any number of Players that have given 4 or more consecutive seasons of service to the Club. A portion of a Loyalty Player’s contract value is excluded from the Salary Cap based on a progressive scale;
- Scholarship Players – Each Club can contract up to 9 under 23 Australian Players on the national minimum wage. Any payments above the national minimum wage to these Players are included in the Club’s Salary Cap;
- Salary Cap Banking – Each Club can access a specified value in Salary Cap Banking for the 2020/21 Season; and
- Relocation Expenses – Clubs can reimburse Players for bona fide relocation expenses (e.g. airfares, temporary accommodation, storage) outside the Salary Cap up to prescribed amounts in order to assist a Player relocating to a new region for football employment.
At all times during the Season, a Club’s A-League Player Roster must have:
- a minimum of 18 Players;
- a maximum of 23 Players;
- a minimum of 2 Goalkeepers;
- a minimum of 3 Australian Players aged 23 or under;
- and a maximum of five foreign players.
Guest Players sit outside the Club’s A-League Player Roster. Players on a Club’s Y-League Player Roster, including Scholarship Players, are also eligible to participate in the A-League.
The minimum salary for Players (incl. superannuation) in the A-League in the 2020/21 Season varies depending on age and ranges from $45,000 to $62,500.