PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab today responded to Sydney FC CEO Edwin Lugt’s calls for a drop in player wages.
Read on for Brendan’s comments published on The World Game’s website.
“The A-League needs to deliver in a number of key areas,” PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab told The World Game.

“One of them is on-field quality and there is no doubt that this season has been the best to date and that is partly due to the remuneration and benefits available but also because of the longer season that has enabled teams to become better developed.

“We are one of two leagues in the world where the players have agreed to restrain payments in the form of a salary cap.

“That cap has been collectively bargained and we are now in the third year of a five-year agreement so having engaged in that process it is inaccurate for the clubs to suggest that player payments are a cause of any financial difficulty.

“By far the biggest cause of this difficulty is the inability of clubs like Sydney FC to engage the football community and attract people into their stadiums and commercialise their operations.

“If Sydney FC were achieving the same rate of conversion of the market as Adelaide United they would be playing in front of a capacity stadium every week.

“Sydney is home to the biggest participation base in the country by a mile and it is also Australia’s commercial capital and there is no reason Sydney FC cannot generate the attendances, sponsorship and other commercial revenues to run a profitable business.”

Schwab cast doubts over Lugt’s suggestion that A-League players were paid much more than their counterparts in Major League Soccer in the USA.

“The MLS salary cap is very similar to ours. They also have very highly paid ‘designated’ players outside of the cap,” Schwab said.

“Australia’s average salary of $135,000 is inclusive of marquee players, without whom the figure would be closer to $125,000.

“The key area is that if you add up all the payments that go to A-League and Socceroos players and you divide that into the combined revenues of the FFA and the A-League clubs, players take home less than 30 percent of the total revenue.

“By any standard that is a low share of revenue. What this means is that we have been very responsible in our bargaining because we acknowledge that the game needs to invest in a variety of areas.

“We just fail to see how dramatic cuts to player payments will solve the current problems.
“I do not want to question the motives of Edwin Lugt but there is certainly a strong view, not just from Sydney FC but within the FFA and the clubs, that costs needs to be controlled to achieve viability.

“We will continue to take a responsible approach but we are not convinced of the need to reduce player payments.

“What particularly needs to be looked at is the lack of community engagement and effective marketing by the administration.

“We’re happy to involve the players to help the clubs promote the game.”