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Four A-League clubs risk losing players and competition points if owed money isn’t paid

Four A-League clubs risk losing competition points, seeing their players made free agents and other potential sanctions if they do not catch up on outstanding payments to players by December 31.
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Brisbane Roar, Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners have been identified as the four clubs who still owe various payments to players and must address their arrears to avoid any repercussions.

As part of the recently agreed Collective Bargaining Agreement between Football Federation and the players’ union, Professional Footballers , clubs who fail to meet their obligations to players can find themselves risking much more than law suits.

It is understood the overdue payments differ from club to club and are a mix of bonus payments, match payments, signing-on fees and superannuation.

On Wednesday, Fairfax Media revealed that several Central Coast Mariners’ players were already exploring their options as potential free agents if the club does not catch up on superannuation payments dating back many months.

PFA chief executive Adam Vivian said his organisation was “monitoring the situation at Central Coast Mariners” and that “non-payment of superannuation is a breach of the standard player contract”.

However, the Mariners are not the only club who’ve fallen behind.

“In addition to players having the right to terminate their contracts due to unpaid superannuation, the new CBA has seen a number of tough new measures introduced,” Vivian said. “Clubs have been given until 31 December to bring all outstanding debts to players up to date. If they fail to do so they face sanctions, which include embargoes on signing new players and possible points deductions.

“The PFA will continue with its efforts to work with clubs to ensure all obligations to players are brought up to date but will not hesitate to support players wishing to terminate their contracts due to breach and/or enact the new sanctions if clubs fail to honour their end of the bargain.”

In an interview with The World Game on Wednesday, Mariners’ owner Mike Charlesworth promised to resolve the situation in the next fortnight and was particularly worried about seeing the club’s brightest young prospects walk out on the club for nothing.

“The Mariners have invested a lot of time and energy in grooming young players, who one day may be sold on to Europe and these issues over superannuation will be addressed,” he said. “We are certainly not going to be in the business of letting any of our best young players leave the club.

“If there are historical debts that need to be addressed then they will be worked through.”

It is understood that the Jets’ payments date back to the doomed administration of Nathan Tinkler, and with the FFA now owning the club, the governing body may be forced to dip into their own savings to bridge the shortfall.

Brisbane Roar have battled with ongoing problems of payments to players under the ownership of the Bakrie Group, although one insider close to the situation said the club appeared committed to getting up to speed.

“They’ve began the process of catching up on the payments that have been outstanding for some time, which is promising,” he said. “But they still need to get everything cleared by the end of the month.”

The Roar still owe a six-figure sum to Mike Mulvey, the coach surprisingly sacked just months after guiding the side to their third A-League championship – and signing a new three-year contract.

Unless a settlement can be reached soon, which appears unlikely given the owners’ determination to avoid paying out, the two parties will almost certainly head to court in 2016.

Adelaide are not a club with a history of late payments and are expected to have their arrears tidied up before the deadline.

Their players did, however, engage in a dispute with club management over match fees for the high-profile friendly matches against Spanish side Villarreal in May and English giants Liverpool in July.

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