EXCLUSIVE: Newcastle Jets Chairman Con Constantine has hit out at the PFA for inciting the threatened boycott by Jets players of their crucial ACL game against Ulsan Hyundai.
There will be a lunchtime meeting on Thursday between Constantine and at least two of the Jets playing group to thrash out a payment issue the Jets owner says is nothing to do with the club.
"This issue of ACL bonuses has nothing to do with me as Chairman or the club. It's between the PFA and FFA," he told au.fourfourtwo.com today.
"They have been talking, talking, talking together for the last two years about this issue of ACL bonuses. One says it's apples, the other says it's bananas.
"It has nothing to do with the Jets... nothing whatsoever."
Constantine argued that his players are paid an annual salary which covers their annual appearances. "We pay them for 12 months, for 11 months work."
The issue of further payments for ACL games is where the two sides have a difference of opinion.
It's understood cashed up Chinese club Beijing Guoan were playing their players an ACL bonus pay of around $4000 per game.
The Jets players are asking for around the $1200 mark per game.
Constantine added that he was "disappointed" that the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) had come to Newcastle and in his words, "to get maximum exposure a week before the game in Asia.
"They want to attack me. Why didn't they go to Central Coast? And the players, they're good boys they play football once a week for 90 minutes. But the PFA should not be trying to brainwash the players."
He also aimed a shot at the FFA for helping out other A-League clubs financially but not his. "Every other club gets some sort of financial support from the A-League. It's because they [the FFA] think Con's got two dollars so why help him?"
He added that the AFC travelling allowances weren't substantial enough to offset losses. "When you break it down, there's nothing for the clubs, just lose, lose."
Constantine also claimed that the Jets are losing $50,000 a week on its ACL venture despite being tantalisingly close to the knockout stage.
And he claimed he paid to upgrade the squad's flight to Asia for their last ACL away game.
And the club owner has this message to the Jets players: "They cannot strike. Legally. They are getting paid. From our point of view, we've done nothing wrong.
"And who's going to benefit from a boycott of this game? I want these boys to succeed next Wednesday. We're so close.
"The team will be on the plane on Saturday. And anyone who doesn't want to play for Newcastle Jets and he thinks he's bigger than the club, then we have no problems. He stays in Newcastle and we put a younger player in to replace him."
The Jets owner also re-affirmed his commitment to keep the club saying he has repeatedly knocked back offers to buy the club and he will continue to own the club "until my passion runs out".