The protracted insurance saga involving Football Federation Australia (FFA), Newcastle Jets and Jason Culina is over, with the parties agreeing to settle their differences out of court.
Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Chief Executive Brendan Schwab announced the arrangement, which means the scheduled hearings of the National Dispute Resolution Chamber under the A-League Collective Bargaining Agreement in June will not proceed.
"The PFA is pleased that FFA, Newcastle Jets and Jason have reached a settlement by mutual agreement, the commercial terms of which are confidential,” Schwab said.
"As a result, Jason's employment agreement with the Jets has also been terminated and he is free to continue his playing career elsewhere in the A-League.
"I would like to congratulate Jason on the determination and professionalism he has shown throughout the course of the dispute.
"At all times, he has remained focussed on his rehabilitation and ensuring he is able to return to elite level professional football as soon as possible."
FFA CEO Ben Buckley praised Culina on his professional career and said he hopes to see him continue his career in the A-League.
"Jason Culina is a world class athlete who has represented Australia at two World Cups and in over 50 national team matches," Buckley said.
"Personally I hope Jason can return to full fitness and resume his impressive playing career in the Hyundai A-League."
PFA served legal papers on FFA on in December 2011 after revelations Culina had not been insured since he returned to Australia to play with Gold Coast United in 2009.
The collective bargaining agreement stipulates FFA must have insurance in place to cover a player’s wages for two years in the event of an injury.
Gold Coast failed to insure Culina when it signed him as its inaugural marquee player. The issue became complicated when Culina was injured at the 2011 Asian Cup. With no insurance, Gold Coast had to keep paying his salary.
In February 2011 Culina signed a three-year deal with Newcastle Jets worth $850,000 a year, but the Jets were unable to insure the marquee player because of his existing injury and tried to have his contract set aside.
Culina had a second operation in September 2011 before returning to training with the Jets in January this year.
He spoke with relief on having the issue with FFA resolved.
"I look forward to resuming my playing career as soon as I have completed my rehabilitation, which is proceeding very well," Culina said.
"I would like to acknowledge the efforts of FFA and the Newcastle Jets to achieve a settlement and to avoid further legal proceedings.
"I would also like to thank the PFA for the support it has shown me throughout especially Chief Executive Brendan Schwab and Player Advocacy Manager Laura Sigal."
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