A-League clubs could stand down their players today with the PFA reportedly set to reject the staggered 30% pay cuts on offer in a reduced CBA deal to compensate for financial losses due to the COVID19 pandemic and Fox Sports' reduced funding.
That would leave FFA set to take over the negotiations, after admitting in a statement recently that they would enter negotiations "at the appropriate time" if an agreement between clubs and players wasn't met.
The stand-down is in part possible because the players currently lack the protection of a CBA due to the ongoing negotiations.
"FFA are actively monitoring the negotiations between the APFCA and PFA and remains committed to supporting the parties in these negotiations," FFA's statement said.
"As FFA continues to monitor these negotiations, if the parties cannot reach agreement, FFA will enter the negotiations at the appropriate time."
It now appears that FFA will have to take control, with negotiations between both parties already passing their deadline for a settlement originally set for yesterday afternoon.
A stand-down would represent a failure on behalf of the burgeoning independence of A-League clubs and their association, the APFCA, which asked FFA not to enter negotiations in their preparation for an independent A-League.
A-League club owners have insisted that the deal they're offering players is fair compared to rival codes, with Perth Glory owner Tony Sage saying the 30% cuts applying to the best paid A-League stars are "very generous" compared to 50% cuts across the AFL.
For their part, the PFA insist that those 50% cuts only actually equated to 25% cuts because they only applied to a quarter of the player's season, and thus, total wage.
The players' union were also unhappy with further cuts given the personal sacrifices players made to play out the A-League season in its NSW hub.
“It is essential that the incredible sacrifice, commitment and quality football demonstrated by the players in completing the 2019/20 A-League season despite Covid-19 is recognised in the new CBA,” new PFA chair, Francis Awaritefe said.
“It is time to rebuild and reboot the professional game in Australia, which requires vision, trust, knowledge and courage. The PFA has always been a player-led organisation that demonstrates these values and I plan to ensure that this remains so.”
But with club bank balances spiralling out of control and many clubs set to lose up to 65% in revenue this year, how FFA will be able to ensure the clubs' sustainability alongside the players' wage demands is a huge question mark upon the entire A-League.