Minimal gain for us: CEO

Monday, June 17

GEELONG Football Club has defended claims it is collecting thousands of dollars by enrolling players in taxpayer-funded training courses.

Chief executive Brian Cook yesterday said the club stood to gain minimal financial incentives for putting employees through traineeships.

Thirty-six staff, including 22 players, have signed up for courses with Corpfit Training Solutions under the New Apprentice Training Scheme.

Mr Cook said it was not a money-making scheme, but a way of equipping players for life after football.

He said the grants for players such as Ben Graham, Ronnie Burns and Steven King, were shared between Geelong Football Club and Corpfit.

The club's share was invested in improving training facilities, including the recent installation of 12 computers, and was not included in the budget.

``To say that we are making thousands and thousands of dollars out of these schemes is just very, very untrue,'' Mr Cook said.

``We don't make lots of money out of it . . . the reason you do this is not for the money, it is to train young players.''

Corpfit Training Solutions' website shows the employer gets $1375 three months after the start of the traineeship, with the rest after a Level III certificate is completed.

Fifty per cent goes into the training organisation's pocket.

``A footballer lasts an average of four years - we are committed to doing something that ensures a post-football life,'' Mr Cook said.

``We have had people retire in their 30s and they are not walking into highly-paid jobs.''

He said it up was to the Federal Government to decide whether the incentives should be means-tested.

Ross Hampton, spokesman for federal Education Minister Dr Brendan Nelson, said as the payment was not made to the athletes, their income was irrelevant.

``It is an incentive to employers to look after their employees in terms of life-long learning and training skills,'' Mr Hampton said.

But he said if there was evidence of rorting, Dr Nelson would investigate.