AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says the trade ban slapped on the Sydney Swans was a tough but necessary measure.

The Sydney Swans “can’t have everyone” and should accept the trade ban slapped on them, says AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan.

McLachlan responded on Monday to speculation the Swans may challenge a recent edict banning the club from trading until the end of the 2016 season unless they abandon their cost of living allowance (COLA).

The league ruling also stopped Sydney from signing up any restricted or unrestricted free agents for the 2015 or 2016 seasons.

“I can’t comment on what their view on challenging (is),” McLachlan said.

“We’ve had an ongoing dialogue with the Swans for some time, it’s just been a very tough one.

“There have to be some constraints. You can’t have everyone.”

He conceded the Swans made a “strong and compelling” case that they had followed the AFL’s rules when they contracted players including star forwards Kurt Tippett and Lance Franklin under the COLA scheme.

But the “stark” measure was still justified, McLachlan said.

“This is not a reaction to anything,” he said.

“The phasing and execution (of COLA) is challenging.”

COLA is currently being phased out and will be replaced by a rent subsidy in the 2017 season.

When the edict was handed down earlier this month, Swans chief executive Andrew Ireland said he was “very disappointed” the club had effectively been punished while simply following AFL regulations.

McLachlan also predicted the rivalry between Sydney and relative newcomers Greater Western Sydney would escalate quickly to the benefit of fans and the sport as a whole.

He predicted the Giants’ latest seasoned recruits, including former Western Bulldogs captain Ryan Griffen and two-time Brisbane club champion Joel Patfull, would help them make a bid for finals in the next two years.

“I’ve… got no doubt that it won’t be long before the Giants rivalry with the Swans is akin to that between the (A-League’s) Sydney FC and the Western Sydney Wanderers,” McLachlan said.

“Clubs from the east and west fighting for bragging rights in front of packed stadiums across the city.”