Former Socceroo Clint Bolton has accused Fox Sports of holding Australian football to ransom.
According to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, Fox will only televise the remaining games of the 2019/20 A-League season if its broadcast rights deal is cut.
The TV network is in the middle of a six-year rights agreement until the end of the 2022/23 season that is worth an average of $57.7 million per year.
The A-League is hoping to return in July to finish the current season, after it was shutdown in March because of the coronavirus.
"Our sport, football, suffers from the sins of its governance and mismanagement over the years … we are suffering now during this particular time because of that,” former Sydney FC and Melbourne Heart keeper Bolton told radio station SEN 1116.
"Throw into the mix - I call them cowboys the broadcasters, there are a lot of cowboys running the show there, executives making decision on broadcast deals … massive broadcast deals.
"They move on, they probably get a bonus because they make these deals … but what do they leave behind? The smaller sports suffer because of that … it does my head in.
"It seems to me like Fox Sports are holding football in this country to ransom at the moment."
Bolton believes the plan to play the final 32 games in just over a month, with central hubs in each state, could be disastrous for the players.
"There are so many things that could go wrong with this … and I’m thinking purely around the players," the 44-year-old said.
"To try and squeeze a lot of games into a short period of time which a lot of these players aren’t particularly used to off the back of a short lead-in, we are talking three to four weeks, it’s just got disaster written all over it.
"Let’s be honest an A-League career is tenuous at best. The player turnover rate is just so high in the A-League, throw into the mix we don’t know what’s ahead of us the following season, there might be a decrease in the salary cap.
"All this playing in the back of the minds of the players needing to continue their careers, bodies are going to be put to the test, minds will be put to the test, it’s just got disaster written all over it."