Just as they are ready to open their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, disgruntled Socceroos players have become locked in a pay dispute with Football Federation Australia. The players’ union, Professional Footballers Australia, has launched legal action against the FFA, alleging the country’s peak football body has not handed over match payments and commercial bonuses owed to the national team.
A PFA spokesman confirmed on Thursday it has filed a formal grievance claim with the federation’s independent disputes arbitrator, but declined to specify exactly how much money it was over. The Socceroos’ pay dispute shows no signs of cooling after Football Federation CEO David Gallop branded the players’ union “inappropriate and unnecessarily disruptive” for launching a claim on commercial revenues just as the World Cup qualification campaign begins.
“The PFA can confirm that a grievance has been filed in accordance with the Socceroos Collective Bargaining Agreement 2011-2015 (CBA) against Football Federation Australia in relation to Socceroos agreed payments,” he told AAP in a statement. “This is a matter to be determined by an independent arbitrator.”
The players have also exercised their right to have the Socceroos’ commercial contracts independently audited.
Former Socceroo Robbie Hooker believes Football Federation Australia has a vendetta against him after serving him with a breach notice in regards to alleged wagering on A-League games. Hooker was informed six months ago that he faced possible charges and has been told he has until June 17 to provide a final submission before the head body considers what action to take against him. He faces a fine and/or suspension if found guilty.
Hooker, who played in the National Soccer League with clubs such as Sydney City, Marconi, Sydney Olympic and Sydney United and was capped 22 times for the Socceroos, said he was dumbfounded by FFA’s ¬actions.
“Why are they picking on me?” Hooker said. “I am an amateur player. I paid $300 to register with Kissing Point football club via FFA’s online process. “There must be hundreds of thousands of amateur footballers around the country who also wager on A-League, Socceroos, English Premier League and international leagues games. Yet they want to hang me.”
Chief executive David Gallop criticized PFA for making them public just as the national team are in Dubai preparing for their June 16 opener against Kyrgyzstan. The dispute comes as the Socceroos are in camp in Dubai preparing for their June 16 opening World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek.
Young Socceroos has just released Riley Woodcock as Sydney FC has secured the services of the captain on a one-year deal.