A-League players will be better off after Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) confirmed a deal to extend the five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for another two years.
The new contract will expire on 30 June 2015 - with the salary cap rise to $2.5 million for the 2013-2014 A-League season and to $2.55 million for the final year of the agreement.
“First and foremost I wish to congratulate all involved on reaching an outcome that will continue to grow the game in this country,” Head of A-League Damien de Bohun said.
“Our goal is to ensure the Hyundai A-League is a sustainable competition that continues to attract a high calibre of player and is entertaining to fans new and old.
“We have made great strides over the past two seasons in growing the game but we must remain vigilant to ensure that we continue our momentum by ensuring a sustainable financial future for the game.
“FFA and all 10 Clubs are committed to ongoing investment in player wellbeing and development programs in the interest of both current and future generations of players.”
The two-year variation and extension of the existing CBA begins today and includes Player Wellbeing and Development Programs now under the administration of the PFA through a program developed in consultation with FFA (via a Joint Career Committee).
The administration of the A-League has also renewed its commitment to player contract security with all clubs committing to guaranteeing that FFA Club Distribution payments will only be used to pay players’ salaries.
PFA President Simon Colosimo said 13 current players were very actively involved in the negotiations and 50 delegates attending a PFA Special General meeting on 12 June to approve the extension.
“The players’ vision for the negotiations was to achieve economic security for the three key stakeholders that make the A-League possible for the fans: FFA, the Clubs and the players. This agreement goes a long way towards achieving that goal, "Colosimo said.
“Employment as a professional footballer is often short-term and precarious. FFA’s $2 million plus investment in career programs to be run by the PFA will help ensure that every player who plays in the A-League leaves the game as a better person and ready to transition into life after football.
"FFA’s investment will also be supplemented by the Socceroos under their CBA and FIFPro, the world players’ union, enabling the PFA to invest over $4 million over the next two years in player wellbeing, development and representation.”
PFA Special Counsel Brendan Schwab said the negotiations were the most extensive, open and transparent it had been involved with.
“We are satisfied that Australia’s professional footballers presently receive a much higher share of revenue than their counterparts in other Australian sports," he said.
"The PFA is very confident that, by working with FFA and the Clubs, the A-League will be in an even stronger position in two years time as we work to grow the game."
Further key points of the new agreement include:
:: the retention of 2 Marquee Players per club;
:: the retention of 3 Homegrown Players per club;
:: an increase in the minimum wage to $50,000 (excluding superannuation and any match payments) ($40,000 for players under 20);
:: retention of arguably the world’s best player injury protection scheme, featuring full protection for contracted players, income insurance for 104 weeks for injured players out of contract (now capped at $350,000 p.a.) and career ending insurance (1 - 10 years annual salary based on age, capped at $500,000);
:: enhanced mandated medical standards, which have contributed to a substantial reduction in player injury rates since their introduction two seasons ago;
:: free agency within Australia for out of contract players;
:: minimum payments for the Asian Champions League and exhibition matches; and
:: the establishment of a Strategic Committee between FFA and the PFA to work collaboratively with Clubs and players to achieve the viability and growth of the A-League.