Some A-League players could be stood down as early as Tuesday if the clubs and the players’ union are unable to settle on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
Negotiations on the CBA are ongoing between the Association of Professional Football Clubs Australia (APFCA) and Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA).
Clubs are aiming to secure a significantly reduced pay deal amid the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes a reduced Fox Sports broadcast agreement and a loss of league and club revenues.
The PFA confirmed it had received a proposal from the clubs and put it to a league-wide player vote on Monday.
AAP understands if an agreement cannot be reached, some clubs may move to stand down their players as soon as Tuesday, when their next round of payments are due.
During the COVID-19 enforced season shutdown, all the Australian A-League clubs except Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory stood down players.
A short-term deal – which involved heavy player pay cuts – was then agreed on in order to complete the 2019-20 season.
The FFA is not directly involved in the negotiations – as the process falls under plans for the A-League and W-League’s “unbundling” from the game’s governing body – and instead considers itself a “regulator”.
But it has warned it will intervene if the two parties can’t reach an agreement.
“FFA are actively monitoring the negotiations between the APFCA and PFA and remains committed to supporting the parties in these negotiations,” the FFA said last Friday.
“As FFA continues to monitor these negotiations, if the parties cannot reach agreement, FFA will enter the negotiations at the appropriate time.”
The PFA emphasised players were committed to securing a CBA – provided it was fair and reasonable.
The players are expected to return to training at their respective clubs later this month or in early October, with Melbourne City previously flagging an October 5 return date.