The 10 Hyundai A-League clubs have today rejected outright the demand of Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) for an extra $3 million in salary payments for A-League players.
The PFA made fresh demands in talks yesterday, seeking an immediate rise of $1 million in payments across 10 clubs and an extra $2 million the following season in 2016/17 – ignoring the fact that new flexibilities such as loyalty allowances and salary cap banking are already providing increases in payments to salary cap players this season.
Today the clubs reaffirmed their unanimous support for Football Federation Australia’s position over the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which already offers increases and a guaranteed 30% share of any uplift in future TV revenues to Hyundai A-League players.
Adelaide United FC Chairman Greg Griffin, a member of the joint FFA-A-League negotiating team, said the PFA demand amounted to “economic vandalism”.
“The PFA has shown its reckless regard for the clubs who collectively employ over 200 professional players,” Griffin said. “The demand for another $3 million in payments is a dangerous folly, especially in such a young league. Do they want to send clubs broke before they comprehend the damage?
“We keep hearing from the PFA about respect for players. What about respect for clubs, their staff, members and sponsors? Respect is a two way street.
“In any negotiation all parties must treat each other with respect. Whilst I completely disagree with what happened yesterday I respect the right of the players to negotiate as hard as they deem required. However, to seek to introduce at this late stage game changing demands that the PFA knows the game cannot afford and the Clubs will not agree to, is to disrespect the process that has been ongoing for seven months. I urge the PFA to return to the table and conclude these difficult negotiations in good faith without stating demands which they know will be rejected and which only purpose appears to be to antagonise the FFA and the Clubs.”
Sydney FC Chairman Scott Barlow added: “The PFA has lost all sense of perspective with this latest round of demands. Their new claims are unaffordable and plainly irresponsible.
“The PFA needs to realise we must have financially viable clubs if the A-League is going to grow and achieve its potential.
“Today the majority of A-League clubs are still losing money and the PFA’s latest demands would simply push clubs further into debt. We cannot afford to see clubs go broke.
“Financial security for players will only be achieved when clubs are financially stable.”
All 10 Hyundai A-League clubs have called on the PFA leadership to drop the demands and accept the agreement on the table negotiated over the past seven months, which is the best deal for all professional players in the history of Australian football.