A-League to resume July 16
T he Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season is set to resume on July 16 after Football Federation Australia (FFA) reached an agreement to extend the season until August 31 with Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association (APFCA).
After the competition was suspended on March 24 due to increasing concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic, FFA had been locked in extensive discussions with the A-League clubs and PFA over player pay-cuts and the remainder of the season.
FFA chief executive, James Johnson, said all parties have had to make sacrifices in reaching this agreement to resume the season.
“I’d like to thank the players and clubs for their commitment to re-starting the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season,” Johnson said.
“These are extremely challenging times and I’d like to acknowledge the leadership shown by all to ensure our loyal supporters across Australia will be able to see their favourite teams back in action again soon.
“When the A-League was suspended on 24 March, our players had been paid for the full ten months of the season equating to 83% 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.
“We have all had to readjust to this new landscape and this has meant coming together to make sacrifices for the greater good of the game.
“The resumption of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season is another step forward for the reactivation of football, and we look forward to a return to training and competitive action,” he said.
APFCA chairman, Paul Lederer, said he is excited for the return of professional football, with the date now officially set.
“This is really great news for football fans across Australia, and I am so pleased that their patience has been rewarded, and they will soon get to experience what promises to be a thrilling conclusion to the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season,” Lederer said.
“The clubs are very excited to get playing again, and to be able to deliver the game to our wonderful football community, especially at a time when grassroots football competition will be back in action,” he said.
FFA head of leagues, Greg O’Rourke, said the league has a number of schedule options set out for the return of the competition.
“We’d like to acknowledge the executives of the PFA and Hyundai A-League clubs for their collaboration and work in getting this deal done to take us through to the completion of the Hyundai A-League 2019/20 season,” 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 have developed multiple draw options for the completion of the regular season.
“The reason for having multiple draw options, which our clubs are across, is due to the fact that over the next few weeks, there may be additional relaxations in border restrictions and travel movements in Australia, which may enable our clubs from Victoria, Queensland and South Australia to remain and play in their home cities, rather than relocating to New South Wales to complete the season.
“We look forward to continuing discussions with our broadcast partners regarding broadcast details of all matches,” he said.