A ceasefire between A-League clubs and player’s union Professional Footballer’s Australia (PFA) has been called, with the two groups agreeing on Friday to talks aimed at addressing the COVID-19 shaped crisis that has befallen Australian football.
As part of the agreement reached between Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA) – the collective body representing A-League clubs – Chairman Paul Lederer and PFA Chief Executive John Didulica, both parties have agreed that no further legal action will be taken by either party.
Instead, talks are now set to begin next week to discuss the future of the competition and attempt to find common ground on the issues faced by the two bodies.
“Since the inception of APFCA the PFA has worked closely and collaboratively with it to bring about outcomes that are good for the whole of the game which partnership has reaped benefits for the memberships of each,” Lederer, who doubles as chairman of Western Sydney Wanderers, said.
“The recent statements in the press are not reflective of the relationship both parties enjoy.”
Trouble began brewing between A-League clubs and their players when, in the face of the league’s suspension, Perth Glory stood down it’s playing group on March 28.
The PFA, who have consistently argued for a collective approach in the vein of the deals struck between the AFL and NRL and their players, immediately issued a demand that Glory owner Tony Sage reinstate his players and, should no such action be taken, threatened legal action that would compel him to do so and levy fines.
Similar demands and threats of litigation were levied by the union with each successive A-League club that moved to stand down their playing group.
Central Coast Mariners, Adelaide United, Western United, Newcastle Jets, Brisbane Roar and Wanderers are all understood to have issues notices to their players since the league’s hibernation began.
Only Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix have committed to paying their playing group for April, although their position for future will likely depend on the ability of the 2019/20 season to resume.
The agreement between the APFCA and PFA to open talks comes days after FFA Cheif Executive James Johnson issued a plea for unity in Australian football.
“These are unprecedented and extremely difficult times for the sport and our nearly 2 million participants across the country,” the FFA CEO said on Tuesday.
“I ask that we approach our challenges with empathy and engage in open dialogue and meaningful collaboration."