Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) chief executive Brendan Schwab said on Tuesday that the players’ body will hold urgent talks with the Hunter Sports Group (HSG) to ensure all player contracts are honoured in the wake of HSG’s announcement of earlier this Tuesday that it wishes to hand its licence to field former A-League champion Newcastle Jets back to Football Federation Australia (FFA).
HSG today met with the Jets’ players to inform them of the decision to return the A-League licence. The players were advised that their payments will continue to be made, but that they are free to seek opportunities elsewhere.
FFA has since confirmed to the PFA that HSG is licensed to field the Jets in the A-League until 2020, and that the governing body will be taking steps to ensure the licence agreement is complied with.
‘Today’s announcement by HSG CEO Troy Palmer has come as a great surprise and disappointment to the PFA and all Newcastle Jets players,’ Schwab said.
‘Only 18 months ago, HSG took control of the club promising success on and off the field. Since then, HSG has embraced the Hunter community resulting in more than 10,000 members joining the Jets and regularly attending home games. An exciting young team has been built, with some of the A-League’s most promising players committing their futures to the club.’
‘The Jets’ players now face different circumstances depending on their contractual status, with some players contracted for next year, some coming off contract and others due to join the Jets when the new player contract year starts on 1 May 2012. The players’ ability to secure their playing futures elsewhere will be greatly compromised if the A-league is to be contracted to 9 teams in 2012/13', Schwab added
Gold Coast United
Last week, the FFA confirmed that Gold Coast United will not be represented in the A-League in the 2012/13 season. Gold Coast United becomes the third market in seven seasons to lose its A-League team following the collapse of New Zealand Knights (2006/07) and North Queensland Fury (2010/11).
‘Never again can an A-League team be allowed to fail’, said Brendan Schwab reacted last week. ‘The impact of the loss of an A-League team on both the players and the fans is devastating. Everyone involved in the game – especially the governing body – must now make a steadfast commitment to ensuring the survival of all A-League teams.’
The PFA says the collapse of Gold Coast United heightens the concerns of all A-League players about the security of their playing contracts.
- Published: 10 April 2012