Professional Footballers Australia have ramped up their mental health support to players at home and abroad after the “seismic shock” of the coronavirus crisis left them fearing for their livelihoods.
In addition there are about 50 international players in Australia, with 32 of them coming off contract – and few of them are likely to be eligible for JobKeeper payments if they're on temporary work visas.
“That will create a host of issues… these are complexities,” the CEO told the podcast. “There is a fair bit of individual case management that we will have to put in so their experience in Australia doesn’t become totally toxic.
"But equally so that these players, when they return home, can say the Australian football community did their best to look after us.
“I think that’s important in the long term if we want to have credibillty as a destination league.”
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Adding to the PFA’s around the clock workload was looking after the 280 or so Australians playing overseas and caught in disease lockdowns across the world.
Didulica dded: “Situations like that don’t just resolve themselves.
“Those players are spread across 35 or 265 countries so we have 35 or 36 different situations so we’ve had a lot of work just to reach out to all of those players and make sure they’re okay.
“In Indonesia we faced a really acute issue where it appeared some of the first communications from the government didn’t quite align with the reality on the ground in terms of the virus, so we had to work around the clock to get those players out.
"It takes a lot of work here at the PFA to engineer those sort of outcomes.”
He added: “I’m pretty glad the W-League finished up the week before the close down - that was one saving grace.
“But that created another problem in that we have a lot of girls playing int he W-League who now can’t take up contracts in the US and Europe - so that’s another area to manage.”