The 2020 AFLW season remains in the balance with a proposed collective bargaining agreement (CBA) failing to pass a player vote.
AFLW players and the AFL Players' Association (AFLPA) will return to the negotiating table after not enough players had voted in favour of a planned CBA.
The new CBA was to cover the next three AFLW seasons, including season length and player conditions. It required 75 per cent of players' approval to pass.
But only 70 per cent of players voted in favour of the CBA, with 30 per cent voting against it.
The AFLPA will meet the players before returning to negotiations with the AFL.
"Despite the majority of players voting in support of the deal, the AFLPA sought a player support vote of 75 per cent or more to move forward with an approved CBA and, therefore, the deal is not yet approved," the AFLPA said in a statement.
"The AFLPA will now conduct a series of meetings with players to determine the next steps in this process."
During the week, it emerged a group of players - concerned at a lack of consultation by the AFLPA - had engaged workers' rights firm Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.
The proposed length of the season - and the number of weeks per year players are contracted for - is another sticking point in negotiations.
This year, the home-and-away season was seven rounds - with the competition split into two five-team conferences - with preliminary finals and a grand final.
The conference system was controversial as it meant certain teams never faced each other during the regular season.
In 2020, West Coast, Richmond, Gold Coast and St Kilda will join the competition, taking it to 14 teams.
The proposed CBA had looked to gradually increase the length of the season. While some players were on board with that change, others were pushing for a 13-game home-and-away season, with all 14 teams to play each other once.
With no confirmed CBA, a fixed date for the beginning of the AFLW pre-season cannot be established.
Australian Associated Press