Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) this week adopted its policy for the upcoming negotiations for a new A-League Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Football Federation Australia (FFA) and the 10 A-League clubs.

A meeting of the PFA Executive and A-League Club Delegates Committeeheld in Brisbane on Tuesday agreed that, through cooperation and a mutual commitment to growing the game, a unique opportunity exists to stabilise and strengthen both the A-League and professional career path at this crucial time.

“The players have an absolute commitment to the growth and well being of the game. Over many years the players have demonstrated that theyare an extremely responsible partner in the game however this should not preclude the players from seeking a fair and equitable CBA,” PFA President Simon Colosimo said.

“The negotiation of a new CBA should be a cooperative and seamless process for the game.  After all, the PFA and A-League players:

  • will continue to agree to a salary cap that ensures players receive a fair and equitable share of game revenue and helps all clubs compete on the field and remain viable off it;
    • seek in return a genuine career path with a reasonable level of investment in player education and development to help players prepare for life after football; and
    • simply want basic protections such as contract security and insurance in the event of injury.

“The quality of the A-League and the international competitiveness of Australian football depend on this,” Colosimo added.

The players committed the PFA to advancing key objectives through the new CBA in adopting a comprehensive Position Paper which details the PFA’s policy for the negotiations.  The objectives include:

  • contract security to underpin the security of the professional career path;
    • a free labour market featuring freedom of contract and movement;
    • education. Football is a short term and precarious career path. A thorough education in and out of the game is the key to ensuring players are able to successfully navigate the global and complex career path of a professional footballer and transition into life beyond the game; and
    • investment in player development and wellbeing, including the establishment of a retirement fund to support players immediately after their playing days have ended.

PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab said, “The objectives established by the players for the new CBA address the fundamental rights and responsibilities of Australia’s professional footballers.  They both guide and provide the measures against which the PFA will approach the negotiation of the new A-League CBA.”

The meeting also considered the PFA’s extensive research into the operation of the current CBA, which started in May 2008 and will end in April 2013.

According to Schwab, “The research shows that player payments form a fair and sustainable share of game revenue and the salary cap has promoted the evenness of the A-League competition.  However, it reveals that the basic rights and wellbeing of A-League players have suffered on too many occasions.

“Some players have not been insured in accordance with the CBA, whilst others have serious concerns over the security of their contracts where the ownership or licence of their A-League club changes.  This has affected over 80 players since 2007 who face losing $2.5 million in player payments and entitlements.  Further, Australian football is well behind comparable sports and football nations in investing in player education, wellbeing and retirement programs.

“The new CBA is the opportunity to address these fundamental and legitimate concerns of the players, which also reflect on the professionalism and standing of the game,” Schwab added.

The players also agreed on the importance of the new CBA being signed by November 2012, in time for the opening of the new player contract window for the 2013/14 season.  The timing of the CBA talks may be complicated by the date of the renewal of FFA’s media rights agreement, which is due to run until mid-2013.

In another important development, Colosimo announced the appointment of Adelaide United’s Bruce Djite to the PFA Executive to fill the casual vacancy created by the resignation of Liam Reddy.

“The players are delighted to welcome Bruce to the PFA Executive.  His passion, intelligence and communication skills will add vitally to the PFA during the course of the CBA negotiations.

“The players also warmly thank Liam for his commitment and dedication to the PFA Executive since his election in 2008, and look forward to his ongoing involvement with the players’ association,” Colosimo said.

For the PFA Position Paper, click here