The Australian players' union has stepped into the the escalating crisis at Sydney FC after branding Frank Farina's banishment of Nick Carle and Matt Thompson to train with the youth side as a breach of contract.
Professional Footballers Australia today said Carle and Thompson had its full support for what they said was Sydney FC’s"...attempt to isolate them".
The union has now vowed to fight the club to ensure the players’ rights are upheld to the terms of the current A-League Collective Bargaining Agreement and given the club 24 hours to fix it - or face legal action.
The move comes after a disastrous weekend for Sydney FC which saw the club alienate its core fanbase by expelling a member (and former club staffer) from the Cove over a banner demanding Farina's sacking, prompting a mass walkout by fans who then chanted outside the stadium for the coach and board's sacking .
Sydney lost the match against Adelaide United 3-0, and in the second half Carle and Thompson appeared to swap positions, with Carle pushing more forward into the more attacking role he had previously played until this season. Afterwards he admitted he had been asked this year to play a more defensive role by Farina.
The following day, the PFA says Carle and Thompson were informed by the club that they were to be excluded from first team training indefinitely.
"Carle, a Sky Blues leadership group member, and Thompson, the A-League leading appearance holder, were accused of being ‘negative influences on the club’ and, without justification and any proper process, were sent home from yesterday morning’s training session and told to return in the afternoon to train with the National Youth League team," the PFA said today in a statement.
PFA General Manager Adam Vivian added that the club had not respected the rights of the players.
“We have a CBA that the clubs must comply with,” Vivian said. “The actions of Sydney FC in excluding Nick and Matt from training are not in accordance with the CBA. If the situation is not remedied within 24 hours, we will take the necessary legal steps.
“Unfortunately this is not the first time this season where the PFA has been forced to intervene in this type of situation.
“This calls into question the behavior of some clubs and undermines acompetition that is based on respect for contracts and a commitment to player wellbeing.”