Talks between the players’ union and the A-League clubs are grinding on, with pay cuts and belt tightening high on the agenda as club owners look to slash costs and union officials try to underpin existing wages and conditions in the face of the greatest financial crisis the A-League has faced.
The clubs want to cut the salary cap to around $2.1 million from the existing $3.2 million, of which clubs were mandated to spend a minimum of $2.88 million.
With players currently on leave, the union can play a longer hand although many of their members are unable to finalise new contracts or join new clubs because of the uncertainty.
It is understood that the clubs, who want to cut individual contracts by up to 30 per cent, are anxious to get the issue resolved and have flagged a September 15 deadline to their players and the union for a deal to be done. That is when the next pay packets are due.
”We are negotiating with the PFA. It’s reasonably amicable as far as I am concerned. We have explained the landscape, they have to make up their minds because we have made them an offer they need to consider,” said Paul Lederer, chairman of APFCA, the group that represents the clubs.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Victory’s veteran midfielder Leigh Broxham took out back-to-back Victory Medals, the first player to do so since club legend Kevin Muscat in 2005/06 and 2006/07.
“It’s been the most difficult year in my 15 seasons at this club, given the global pandemic and an unsuccessful season. I commend everyone’s commitment to try to keep doing the right things,” he said, having been awarded the medal during a live-streamed function on Friday night.
Defender James Donachie, who has now moved to the Newcastle Jets, was awarded the Players’ Player of the Year, and Ola Toivonen, the Swedish marquee man who has returned home, won the Golden Boot after netting 10 goals for the season.
Hayley Hanson was crowned the W-League Victory Medal winner in her first season at the club.
”It’s not easy to move across the world to a new team and you guys made my transition seamless and painless,” she said.
Emily Menges was awarded the Players’ Player Award and Natasha Dowie added another Golden Boot Award to her tally
Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio won the Y-League Victory Medal and the TAC Golden Boot Award.
Michael Lynch is The Age’s chief soccer reporter and also reports on motor sport and horseracing
Dominic Bossi is a football reporter with The Sydney Morning Herald.