Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has queried if the APL has considered player welfare when scheduling his team’s hectic fixture list.
Glory played their Asian Champions League games in Qatar, before returning home in early December.
“We are the only club to have suffered through 28 days of hard quarantine,” lamented Sage. “We are the only team (except Wellington) that have played seven away games again leaving family.
“Now we have to play two games in five days at home, then we do another away trip with three games in eight days.
“It is a horrendous schedule that no other club has to do. No other club has been asked to travel and play with little preparation.”
Glory looked flat in their 3-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night, five days after a 2-2 draw with Central Coast Mariners in heavy rain at Gosford. They now must back up at home to Sydney on Wednesday night.
The Sky Blues in contrast, have only left NSW twice all season. They too had quarantine issues at the start of the season after also travelling to Qatar for their Asian Champions League group games, but were only required to quarantine for 14 days.
The reigning champions didn’t play their first interstate game until 23 February when they travelled to Victoria to play Melbourne City. Their last Champions League game was 4 December.
Glory played their last game in Doha on 3 December, but after returning home and playing their first A-League game at home on 20 January, had to travel to Melbourne to play Western United three days later. That was the start of four away games in a row.
“The players were underdone at the start because of the quarantine,” said Sage. “We can’t get a settled side because of absolutely necessary rotation policy and injuries.
“So we must play five kids under 22. Where is the PFA for player welfare?”
PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch today added: “It is encouraging to hear of Tony’s concern for the welfare of our members.
“The challenges posed by COVID-19 in relation to match scheduling in both the A-League and W-League have been immense and the ongoing professionalism of our members has been remarkable.
"Despite the challenges, the APL management team have worked collaboratively with the PFA to address player concerns as they have arisen.
"With the CBA negotiations set to commence imminently, the players would welcome the opportunity to enhance their collective voice in relation to scheduling, whilst also increasing the level of funding to critical player welfare programs to ensure the concerns of our members are met and Tony’s concerns are addressed."