Football Federation Australia has avoided a referees’ boycott, which would have had disastrous effects on the start of the A-League season next month.
FFA and the recently formed Australian Football Referees Association today announced amendments to the standard Match Officials Agreement, the first changes since the inaugural A-League season kicked off in 2005.
Prior to the new agreement, 80 per cent of A-League match officials had reportedly refused to sign new contracts during the pay dispute.
Some of the key upgrades to the agreement are:
- An average increase of 19 per cent to Match Fees across all competitions;
- Reimbursement of costs associated with the pre-season medical test;
- Reimbursement of out-of-pocket medical expenses for injuries sustained in organised training (in addition to matches);
- Confirmation that FFA will maintain medical insurance cover to include injuries sustained in FFA organised training (in addition to matches).
A-League boss Damien de Bohun said the new agreement was indicative of FFA’s commitment to investing in refereeing.
“At the start of last season there were no full-time employees dedicated to refereeing,” de Bohun said.
“Now we have a referee’s department, with three full-time staff members and one part time staff member, dedicated to providing increased coaching and administrative support to all match officials.
“I’d like to thank the match officials for the collaborative approach to finalising the standard Match Officials Agreement as we look forward to exciting seasons in the Hyundai A-league, Westfield W-League and Foxtel National Youth League.”
The A-League season begins on October 11 when Sydney FC host Newcastle Jets in a match likely to feature international stars Alessandro Del Piero and Emile Heskey.