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AFP
March 28, 2020

Australia football body slashes staff as virus shutdown bites

Sports

AFP
March 28, 2020

SYDNEY: Football Federation Australia sent home 70 per cent of its staff Friday in a bid to survive the coronavirus pandemic, as other sports were locked in crisis talks on how best to weather the storm.

Despite holding out to be one of the last competitions in the world still playing, the plug was finally pulled on the A-League this week with soccer countrywide now at a standstill.

FFA chief executive James Johnson said the shutdown would inevitably hit revenue streams hard, including national registration fees, broadcast money, sponsorship, and ticket sales.

“So we have needed to adjust our operations to ensure that we can remain operational, forcing us to take the unfortunate decision to stand down approximately 70 per cent of our workforce,” he said.

FFA employs around 100 people and while some were switched to part-time, others are going on paid leave when possible and “a number of staff members” were forced to take time off without pay.

There was no mention of players taking pay cuts.

Football is not Australia’s most popular spectator sport, but more than two million people play the game and Johnson insisted it was only a “temporary stoppage”.

National Rugby League bosses had previously said it would be “catastrophic” to suspend the season and they have been huddled in talks this week with the Rugby League Players’ Association to work out how to share the burden.

Reports have said the game’s 480 contracted players, some earning in excess of Aus$1 million (US$600,000) a season, were facing 50 per cent pay cuts.

Another suggestion, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, would see all players receiving a basic stipend of less than $10,000 per month for the next three months in a bid to ensure those most financially vulnerable are not left behind.