Australia tweaks national players' pay deal to reflect COVID-19 impact

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s national soccer players have agreed to pay-cuts as part of an adjusted collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that takes into account the economic impact of the novel coronavirus, the players union said on Wednesday.

The revised CBA, which applies to both the men’s and women’s teams, will carry through to the completion of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) said in a joint statement with Football Federation Australia (FFA).

“Working collaboratively ... FFA and PFA have agreed to adjust various mechanisms within the CBA to respond to the economic impacts presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in a statement.

“Particularly, the adjustments to the CBA account for the significantly disrupted international calendars both teams have experienced in 2020, which has reduced the opportunity for Australia’s national football teams to generate revenue in both FY20 and FY21.”

Australia’s home-based professional players have yet to strike an adjusted pay deal with clubs, however, having already taken heavy cuts to allow the A-League season to finish after a nearly four-month disruption due to the pandemic.

The clubs are aiming for a significant reduction to their player salary burden as they grapple with lower revenues in the wake of a renegotiated broadcast agreement with News Corp-owned Fox Sports.

The players union rejected a proposal from the clubs on Tuesday that they said would allow the clubs to “unilaterally impose salary reductions” and would prevent players negotiating reductions in a “fair and adequate manner.”

Players are expected to return to training with their clubs in October, ahead of the new A-League season in early 2021.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Robert Birsel