Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) today welcomed the determination of Arbitrator Shaun McCarthy to award Gold Coast United’s former German player Peter Perchtold over $340,000 in compensation after he was sacked for refusing to agree to a club demand that the second year of his contract be removed under the club’s then “one year contract” policy.

The arbitrator found that Perchtold was entitled to damages of over $340,000 in compensation, including $50,000 based on the “specificity of sport” which takes into account the impact of the club’s conduct on Perchtold’s football career.  The arbitrator was highly critical of Gold Coast United’s conduct, stating “The Club plainly reneged on the Agreement. In doing so the Club breached the Contract. The Player was blameless. In my opinion the conduct of the Club was highhanded to say the least.”

PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab today welcomed this decision saying that,“This is an important win for players in Australia. It demonstrates that an employment contract in Australia must be honoured by the Club, and that the obligations which exist on a Club, once the contract is freely entered into, must be complied with.

“We hope the decision will also bring about a change in the culture at Gold Coast United, which has dismissed 3 A-League players in recent times.  The A-League features a salary cap and restricted rosters.  The onus is on all A-League clubs to get their recruitment right and then invest in the development of their rostered players in order to be competitive.  Extensive education and counselling programs are available through FFA and the PFA to ensure that every player upholds the highest standards of professionalism and conduct, on and off the field.”

The PFA is determined to ensure the A-League is a highly respected playing opportunity for professional footballers throughout the world.  It believes it is essential that the problems many expatriate Australian players face with contractual compliance throughout the football world do not exist at home.

“Players in the A-League are playing in a professional and highly demanding league, a league which should be welcoming the best available talent from all over the world,” Schwab added. “The message sent with this decision is that players should believe that when they sign a contract with an Australian club they can commit to playing in Australia in accordance with their contract, and not have it varied without their agreement.

“The alternative is a system which would bring the league into disrepute, and would discourage players the world over from playing in Australia.”

Gold Coast United has 21 days in which to comply with the determination.

In related news, the grievance of Robson in relation to his purported termination by Gold Coast United, has been set down for hearing on 19 December.