Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) is calling on Football Federation Australia (FFA) to launch an independent investigation into last night’s match between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

PFA Chief Executive John Didulica has demanded clarity from the FFA as to how the match was allowed to proceed, given the deplorable state of the SCG’s pitch, and the clear danger it posed to player safety.

“Firstly, the thoughts of every A-League player are now with Terry Antonis in the hope that his worst fears are not realised,” Didulica said.

“The players confirmed with us last night that they were not consulted at any stage on whether or not the match should proceed, notwithstanding the clear issues that the pitch presented to their livelihoods.

“Accordingly, the PFA will convene a meeting with its A-League delegates this week and recommend two clear resolutions for adoption.

“Firstly, that FFA immediately commission an independent investigation into the process undertaken to approve last night’s match as being fit for play.

“The Laws of the Game dictate this is fundamentally a decision for the referee. However, the increasing complexity of match day operations makes it inconceivable that a referee would, or should, make such a decision in isolation of stakeholders.”

“Secondly, endorse a motion that players will no longer play on surfaces unacceptably compromised by a cricket wicket.

“As demonstrated last night, cricket wickets present an unreasonable danger to the health and safety of footballers and it remains the view of the PFA that players are under no obligation to participate in matches when such risks are present. This includes the SCG.”

Didulica also reiterated that this season there had been a significant drop in pitch standards across all competitions.

“On four occasions this season the PFA has been on the record calling for greater focus on the conditions of the pitches on which A-League and W-League players are being required to play. 

“We even took the unprecedented step of sharing our annual pitch ratings survey a fortnight ago, whilst the season was still in progress, to shift focus to the dangerous drop in pitch standards across the country.”