The AFL suffered a net loss in 2016, while league boss Gillon McLachlan’s annual pay packet rose to $1.74 million.
In annual financial results released on Friday, the AFL recorded a net loss of $17.8 million last year after grants and distributions – a result the league said was in line with budget forecasts.
McLachlan’s annual salary rose from $1.72 million in 2015 – a bump of $20,000.
In a recent media briefing, McLachlan defended his salary, which is considerably more than the highest-paid players receive.
“I believe I’m competing in a different market to the players – it’s comparing apples with oranges,” McLachlan said.
“It’s illogical, makes no sense.”
POLL | Should the AFL's best players be getting paid more than Gillon McLachlan?
Mick Warner says yes.
Gerard Healy says no.
— Sportsday (@SportsdayRadio) February 16, 2017
The driving force behind the loss were costs associated with the early purchase of Etihad Stadium and the launch of the AFL Women’s competition, which saw expenditure increase by $18.9 million to $186.9 million.
However, AFL clubs didn’t feel the pinch of the result, the league providing $255.9 million to the 18 clubs compared with $245.2 million in 2015.
Overall revenue increased by $10.9 million to $517 million last year, with the league recording an operating surplus of $330.4 million before grants and distributions.