PFA hoping to avoid escalation of Socceroos boycott

Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) is hopeful the pay row currently engulfing the Socceroos won’t spill over into the national team’s next home qualifiers.

On Monday night the PFA announced players would not participate in commercial activities on the FFA’s behalf while the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) dispute was ongoing.

The action resulted in the cancellation of a store appearance in Perth.

PFA CEO Adam Vivian told FourFourTwo that the players wanted to be taken seriously but was optimistic of a swift outcome.

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“We hope it will be resolved in a timely fashion,” Vivian said.

“From a players’ perspective they’re saying, ‘listen guys, we’re serious about this, we want to get everyone back in a room’.

“You’d hope they wouldn’t have to take further action to drive the outcome because this is a meaningful stand by the players."

The Socceroos face Bangladesh in Perth on Thursday followed by an international FIFA window in October when Australia is scheduled to play Jordan away in a qualifier.

The national team is not scheduled to play at home again until November’s 2018 World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in a yet-to-be-confirmed city.

Vivian added that the players had “given it a lot of thought in terms of trying to protect the football community, which is why it’s purely focused on the FFA’s commercial relationships and not the fans.

“It’s disappointing and hopefully it won’t cascade too much further down the track.”

The issue revolves around the FFA’s decision to terminate the MOU with the PFA following the expiration of the CBA on June 30.

The parties have been unable to reach an agreement on the PFA’s whole-of-game proposal, with the salary cap a key issue.

“The fact we’ve come this far down the path and taken a stand like this is an indictment on the relationship – that’s really disappointing,” Vivian said.

“Historically there’s been moments of vulnerability for the players, but to have their relationship document between the federation and players terminated, they’ve felt vulnerable and they’re taking a stand.”

Negotiations are due to resume on Tuesday next week, with up to four meetings planned for September ahead of the start of the A-League season in October.

There has been speculation of an A-League player strike, although the PFA were optimistic it wouldn’t come to that.

Vivian said the upcoming meetings would be “vital in the process” of reaching an agreement after months of failing to find a resolution.

Socceroo Mathew Leckie also scoffed at suggestions that national team players would boycott games.

“Not at all,” Leckie said. “We’re representing our country and everyone loves representing their country, whether we get paid or not.

“We’re here to win for our country, our fans and to make Russia 2018.”