A-League clubs have walked out of a meeting with Football Federation Australia after rejecting a redistribution offer from head office.
There appears to be no end in sight to the lengthy stoush between FFA and the clubs, who are fighting for more funding and extra seats at the sport’s key decision-making table.
Adelaide United chairman Greg Griffin, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, said clubs had unanimously turned down an increased, but “wholly inadequate” annual distribution of $3.25 million.
“With this proposal the FFA has shown its disregard for the A-League and those who have invested in it. The clubs are no longer prepared to fund the FFA through annual club losses,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We have worked in good faith for the last eighteen months to achieve a distribution that will deliver a sustainable future for the League.
“This is yet another example of the need for reform of the governance and management of our game and things must change now.”
The A-League clubs insist that their position is based on the fact that the whole offer of $32.5million is “less than 50% of the FFA’s own calculations of direct revenues produced by the A-League.”
The statement continued to point out that, “FFA additionally receives many millions of dollars of indirect revenue as a result of the provision by clubs of A-League commercial inventory and ticketing; the bundling of other assets and rights with A-League rights and assets; and the overall halo effect for the game at large of the Hyundai A-League.
“Under this proposal nearly every dollar would be pre-committed to cover the A$3.2 million of player obligations made up of A-League, W-League, NPL and NYL player payments.
“It leaves Scholarship Players, Homegrown Players, Marquee Players, Guest Players, Season Long Guest Players, Relocation and other salary cap exempt items unaccounted for.
“This is before any consideration is given to any other Club expenditures such as payroll tax, insurance, mandated junior academy investments, coaching and medical staff, administration and commercial staff, community outreach, marketing and stadium training and administration facility costs,” the statement concluded.
It’s understood FFA chairman Steven Lowy is overseas and was not at the meeting.
FFA chief David Gallop fired back at clubs, saying the deal on the table represented a 26 per cent increase on last season.
He suggested paying A-League clubs extra would eat into the FFA’s wider role in funding the Socceroos, Matildas and grassroots football.
“It was hardly surprising that the owners of the clubs want more money, and we are providing them with more money after reducing FFA’s own costs significantly,” Gallop said.
“But the FFA Board also has a responsibility to the 1.1 million participants in community football and our national teams program.
“The only way we can provide the clubs with more money is to cut more funding to the grassroots and junior and senior national teams and we do not believe that is in the interests of football in this country.”
Presently, the league doles out an annual amount to clubs corresponding with the A-League salary cap – which in 2016-17 was $2.6 million.
Under the terms of the CBA, the salary cap will rise to at least $2.92 million in 2017-18, owing to the league’s bumper $57.6 million-a-year broadcast deal with Fox Sports.
The clubs are eager for a greater share of that pie than the $32.5 million currently on offer.
The Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA) says the current offer means clubs will receive less than half of the revenues generated by the league.
Having argued for redistributions above and beyond the total salary cap amount, the clubs were aghast to learn that the offer from FFA would only barely cover A-League, W-League, NPL and NYL player wages.
Clubs see these talks as time to secure a genuine return on their investments over the first 12 years of the league, where almost all club owners have worn significant losses on their investments.
The A-League holds its grand final on Sunday, before going into hiatus until October.