A-League changes player contracts over All-Stars fiasco

Marianna Massey

No longer will players or clubs be allowed to opt out of representative matches organized by the A-League and FFA, according to new language in standard player contracts.

With just six available of the fifteen players voted by fans to represent the A-League in its All-Star game against Manchester United, Football Federation Australia (FFA) have altered player contracts to avoid similar embarrassment in future years, according a report in FourFourTwo Australia.

To date, five of the seven players revealed by the A-League are Western Sydney Wanderers, including Youssouf Hersi, Michael Beauchamp, Ante Covic, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Mark Bridge. Only Brett Emerton (Sydney FC) and Thomas Broich (Brisbane Roar) are non-Wanderers.

The contractual changes engineered by the league alter the language that previously described player responsibilities if called up for national or international duty. That has been changed to say 'representative.' The standard player contract now defines 'representative' as:

"Representative Match means a football match to be participated in by a Representative Team as prescribed by FFA from time-to-time. Representative Team means the All-Stars or a national team."

Other new language includes the provision that:

"The club must release and make you available to participate in the Representative Matches on notice from FFA acting reasonably."

In other words, players are required to represent the A-League in an All-Star game or future representative team and clubs cannot prevent the league or FFA from calling a player in for such call-ups. It would have been reasonable to expect FFA to have instituted these changes prior to its inaugural All-Star game to ensure maximum participation and exposure, but this seems to have evaded those in charge of such decisions.

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