GOLD COAST — Australia’s professional footballers’ union is threatening legal action against Perth Glory owner Tony Sage after he stood down the A-League club’s players and staff.
Less than a week after Football Federation Australia 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 decision prompted an angry response from the PFA, who have promised to initiate legal proceedings if Sage doesn’t reinstate players immediately.
“A fortnight ago, it was fine to relocate players to the east coast away from their families and expose them to a global pandemic,” PFA chief executive John Didulica said.
“Now, when the opportunity arises, it is considered acceptable to stop paying them.”
However, Sage is unrepentant and believes his action is no different to any other business during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The whole of the income structure of the league has stopped. There’s no income,” Sage told AAP.
“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?”
While Sage believes his actions will be replicated by other clubs in coming days, the PFA says it will react similarly if another club stands down its players.
“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,” Didulica said.
Sage says the club will not receive $800,000 from their four home games and he had to take drastic action to ensure the Glory remain solvent.
He was also mindful many A-League players are coming off contract at the end of May and those from overseas or interstate would be seeking to travel home before restrictions prevent them returning.
“I want every player that wants to play for Perth Glory to play for Perth Glory next season,” he said.
“But if there’s no club, they can’t.”