FFA and PFA at loggerheads over CBA details

A-league chief Damien de Bohun was quoted in the FFA salary cap changes announcement. (Getty) Source: Getty Images Asia Pacific

EXCLUSIVE: Football Federation Australia (FFA) denied a claim by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) that it proposed a sharing model which would see players receive 30 percent of revenue generated by the game, before performing a dramatic back flip.

PFA's claim is the latest development in protracted Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations between the two parties that appear to have reached a stalemate after the player's union announced on 1 July it had rejected FFA's latest offer.

The PFA statement read: "The current proposal from FFA does not address these objectives, but rather:
:: reduces Socceroos payments, which fails to acknowledge their recent outstanding performances;
:: freezes the A-League salary cap for the next three seasons, despite four years of wage restraint;
:: inadequately address the players' concerns regarding the short-term and precarious nature of their career path; and;
:: does not meaningfully address the significant issues the players continue to face in transition from the sport.

When contacted on Thursday by The World Game, a PFA representative claimed FFA in fact proposed a sharing model in mid-April, before reneging - a statement flatly rejected by the governing body.

"FFA never at any time offered the PFA a share funding model of 30% of "all game revenues," an FFA representative said. "FFA is exploring the mechanisms to introduce the proposed CBA changes by regulation, if necessary. This will ensure players won't be penalised by the PFA's intransigence."

In response to the objections raised by the players' union in it's statement of rejection, A-League chief Damien de Bohun said:

"The PFA walked away from the best package of salary, benefits and certainty ever offered to Australian footballers."

"The six-year agreement would give the players a contracted right to 30% of the uplift in the next TV deal, which amounts to a huge windfall for player incomes.

"The offer also has potential increases of 12% in payments to A-League players from next season.

"Instead, the PFA wants 30% of all game revenues. To be clear, that's 30% of revenue from membership, box office, sponsorship, merchandise, hospitality, signage and all other club revenues, in addition to 30% of centralised revenue.

"That's economic madness. FFA and the clubs will not entertain a proposal that would cripple the A-League."

When TWG put that to PFA, it objected to the suggestion it has 'walked away' from the offer.

"That's incorrect," the representative said. "The PFA have never walked away. We remain absolutely committed to achieving a whole of game agreement.

"The PFA has simply requested that FFA contract to this proposed model, to ensure that the players receive what the governing body considered to be fair and equitable."

"Rather than a true revenue sharing model, where all revenue streams of the professional game are included, the FFA has proposed to freeze of the salary cap, cut Socceroos pay and proposed only to lock in a 30% share for the players of any uplift in the next TV broadcast deal." 

De Bohun has previously denied these claims.

"Any suggestion that there has been, or will be, a salary freeze is simply not accurate. Over the past three years Hyundai A-League players have received a 13% increase in total payments, while at the same time most clubs have continued to run operating deficits and also invest heavily in upgraded facilities, youth development programs, and improving conditions for players."

Since negotiations began, a reported 22 bargaining meetings between the two parties have occurred, where the affordability of the 30 per cent share of all revenue has emerged as a major sticking point.

PFA believes this percentage is both responsible and affordable as it would safeguard in excess of $105 million, of the expected $150 million that the game is forecast to generate for the 2015-2016 season. 

"The current economic environment means the A-League depends on its club owners to make substantial capital investments. The commitment from the owners underwrites the employment of 260 professional players," De Bohun said.

"The FFA and the clubs are building a stable and sustainable model and we invite the PFA to think about the long-term project, not short term self interest."

Source SBS