Fears are growing that there could be large exodus of players out of the A-League if a deal is struck that sees players wages cut significantly next season.
The players union, the FFA and the clubs are engaged in talks over a new collective bargaining agreement for the 2020/21 season.
A-League players saw their wages slashed down to just 17% of their existing contracts (plus JobKeeper), with many forced to make personal sacrifices as well, to ensure the Covid-19-hit 2019/2020 season could be completed.
According to sources, clubs want to cut player wages down to potentially 30% off their current contracts for next year.
FTBL understands the players are not happy with this level of cuts, after already accepting massive cuts last season and making other sacrifices such as relocation to the NSW hub to get the campaign finished.
“There is a huge level of reluctance,” one player told FTBL.
Some in the competition believe we could see more players depart Australia for more lucrative pastures overseas, if the cuts are substantial.
Already Dimi Petratos and Mitch Duke have headed to Saudi Arabia, Joel Chianese is moving to India and Adam Le Fondre is tipped to join Chianese there.
Wellington's Liberto Cacace has also departed for Belgium.
“There’s a fear that the league will lose a significant amount of its talent,” one involved party said.
“Some of the players have had enough. There could be a gutting of all the talent in the A-League.”
Australian players in the A-League have been able access the government’s JobKeeper allowance, but foreign players such as Le Fondre, Bruno Fornaroli, Milos Ninkovic and others have not been eligible.
According to reports, the A-League clubs want the salary cap cut from around $3 million to $2.1 million.
“To date there has been no formal proposal tabled with the players by the A-League clubs,” a PFA spokesperson told FTBL.