Australia’s professional footballers’ union is demanding Perth Glory owner Tony Sage revoke the stand-down notices sent to the A-League club’s players.
Less than a week after the FFA suspended the 2019-20 A-League season until at least April 22 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Sage has stood down all of the club’s players and staff. The outspoken club owner said the decision was “heartbreaking”.
The Glory boss says he expects other A-League clubs to follow suit and his decision allows foreign players and staff to return to their home nations if possible amid the global crisis.
The PFA, however, says it will initiate legal proceedings against Sage if the players aren’t immediately reinstated.
“A fortnight ago, it was fine to relocate players to the east coast away from their families and expose them to a global pandemic. Now, when the opportunity arises, it is considered acceptable to stop paying them,” PFA chief executive John Didulica said.
“We are positioned to take the same course of action if any other A-League club owner elects to take this course of action in contravention of both the law and the sport’s broader needs at this time.”
It’s a position that has angered Sage, who says he is acting no differently to any other business during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The whole of the income structure of the league has stopped. There’s no income,” Sage said. “The FFA has stopped the league. What do they expect? I think all 12 clubs, 11 of them playing, will be doing the same thing in the next three days. So what are they going to do – sue everybody?”
Approximately half of the league’s players are set to be out of contract at the end of May, with Glory having only 12 players contracted into next season.
Brisbane Roar coach Robbie Fowler and director of football Tony Grant have already flown to England to be with their families during the outbreak, with their return dates yet to be determined.