Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold says the AFL must correct some structural weaknesses that are working against an equal competition before expecting wealthy clubs like the Hawks to share revenue.
Newbold was one of several club officials on a recent equalisation fact-finding trip to the United States, along with AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou and his deputy Gillon McLachlan.
It was driven by a desire to close the growing on-field divide between the AFL’s richest and poorest clubs.
Upon return, McLachlan said revenue-sharing would be critical.
But Newbold said while powerhouse clubs such as his own and Collingwood wanted to help, they weren’t ready to open their coffers before the AFL fixed what they regard as anomalies.
Newbold pointed to the cost-of-living salary cap allowance granted to the Sydney clubs, priority draft picks and poorer stadium deals for some clubs as obstacles that needed to be removed first.
“It’s not an easy topic, equalisation,” Newbold told a club function at the MCG on Friday night.
“I was just talking to (AFL chairman) Mike Fitzpatrick and I said that really before we get to the equalisation issue, there’s a number of anomalies that we need to correct, including cost-of-living allowance, salary cap inequalities, draft priority picks, things like that.
“I think we need to get the baseline right.
“First cab off the rank needs to be the stadium deals that all the clubs have.
“I think once we can sort out those structural weaknesses, the bigger clubs like Hawthorn and Collingwood can very well look to contribute to a pot of money and to revenue-sharing.”