Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) today formally filed a grievance with Football Federation Australia under the A-League Collective Bargaining Agreement over the failure of Newcastle Jets to honour its agreement with Joel Griffiths to transfer the player to Beijing Guoan for an agreed transfer fee. The PFA has sought an urgent arbitration hearing to resolve the matter.
Last minute negotiations between Griffiths’ management team and the Jets that would have seen Joel play the last remaining games of the regular A-League season broke down today, as the Jets saw this as an opportunity not to compromise but instead demand a fee in excess of that already agreed between Joel and the two clubs.

The agreed transfer fee on top of the loan fee already paid by Beijing Guoan will see the Chinese outfit pay a total of $850,000 to secure Joel Griffiths’ permanent transfer.

“These matters are always best resolved by agreement,” PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab said today.  “Unfortunately, in this case, one party (the Jets) has seen fit to constantly change its position from that already agreed with Joel and accepted by Beijing.

“Joel was willing to consider playing out the A-League season.  However, the AFC Champions League Regulations preclude him from seeing the season out with the Jets and then playing for Beijing in the ACL.”

Schwab described as “ridiculous” claims by Jets Chairman Con Constantine that a win for Joel at arbitration would create a precedent that would harm the A-League and its clubs.

“It is a daily occurrence in the world of football for player transfers to be negotiated.  Indeed, in a World Cup year, international moves are being encouraged throughout the A-League to ensure players are active right up to May,” Schwab said.

“Football operates a global transfer system which provides for the payment of transfer fees whenever players transfer clubs whilst under contract.  Coupled with transfer windows, this ensures contractual stability, sporting integrity and substantial financial compensation for clubs,” Schwab added.