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FFA eyes mid-July return after deal reached with A-League players

FFA chief executive James Johnson (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

After resolving concerns between clubs and the players’ union over player payments, scheduling and Covid-19 safety measures, Football Federation Australia is drawing-up a revised draw with games restarting by mid-July.

In a statement on its website the FFA said it agreed to extend the A-League 2019-20 season until August 31, with existing player contracts to be extended until that date.

FFA chief executive James Johnson said players had agreed to a reduction in their pay for the additional three months of the campaign, though no financial details were provided.

“When the A-League was suspended on March 24, our players had been paid for the full ten months of the season equating to 83 per cent of their contracted salaries.

“Our players have shown great solidarity and have agreed to take a reduction in pay for the additional three months of the season to ensure that it can be completed,” Johnson said.

FFA’s head of league, Greg O’Rourke, said: “We can now focus on the testing of all players for Covid-19 before a return to training for the clubs this week.

“We look forward to continuing discussions with our broadcast partners regarding broadcast details of all matches,” O’Rourke added.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reports there is still no assurance on broadcast plans for the remainder of the A-League season. Fox Sports has yet to clarify its intention to broadcast the remaining games.

Fox is said to believe the contract is now overpriced in the current economic climate, also pointing to the poor ratings and attendances the A-League has generated in recent seasons. Fox had delayed paying the final instalment of its last part of funding for this season but eventually did so.

According to the Herald report, senior A-League sources told the publication its broadcast options are being assessed in the event Fox does not televise the remainder of this season.

The revised draw for the remaining 27 matches of the regular season, which will be contested over a period of 28 days, plus the five Final Series matches will be announced soon, according to the FFA statement.