THE HEAD of the players' union today sent a blunt message to Football Federation Australia after the axe fell on Gold Coast United: Never let it happen again.
FFA CEO Ben Buckley today confirmed Gold Coast joins New Zealand Knights and North Queensland Fury as the third club to close its doors in the A-League's short history.
“Never again can an A-League team be allowed to fail,” Professional Footballers Australia CEO Brendan Schwab said.
“The impact of the loss of an A-League team on both the players and the fans is devastating.
"Everyone involved in the game – especially the governing body – must now make a steadfast commitment to ensuring the survival of all A-League teams.”
The PFA says the collapse of Gold Coast United heightens the concerns of all A-League players about the security of their playing contracts.
Despite the short seven year history of the A-League, over 80 players remain at risk of losing financial entitlements totalling around $2.75 million.
In relation to the three clubs that have collapsed and not being replaced lost player entitlements amount to more than $1.7 million, an average loss of just under $75,000 for 23 players.
The PFA continues to seek the compensation due to former Gold Coast United players Peter Perchtold and Robson, both of whom had their contracts terminated when the team was under the control of Gold Coast United FC Pty Ltd and its owner, Clive Palmer.
The PFA worked very closely with the players of Gold Coast United to advance the interests of the A-League and the team, especially in the last six weeks that followed the cancellation of the licence of Gold Coast United FC Pty Ltd by FFA.
“The players – despite deep concerns about their own professional wellbeing – were united in their commitment for the A-League to continue on the Gold Coast,” Schwab said.
“The players’ performances in the four games that followed the cancellation of the licence demonstrated that commitment. The A-League is poorer for being denied the opportunity to see this young, talented and exciting team develop as one to challenge for A-League honours.
“Whilst we were able to reach agreement with FFA for all current player contracts to be honoured, the impact of this decision on the players will still be great – emotionally, personally and professionally.”
The leadership demonstrated by PFA representatives Joel Porter, skipper Michael Thwaite, Glenn Moss and others including ‘keeper Jerrad Tyson was exceptional and fundamental to the unity displayed by the playing group.
“Whilst the last six weeks have been extremely difficult for the players, uncertainty has surrounded the club throughout the entire 2011/12 season,” Schwab said.
“Joel, Michael, Glenn and the leadership group together played a pivotal role in maintaining the morale of a playing group that often had to endure poor facilities, a lack of medical care, player contract disputes and constant and often destabilising public controversy.
“Their contribution to the cause of the A-League and their fellow professionals is significant and warrants the highest respect from everyone involved in the A-League,”