Minor salary cap rise for A-League
A-League players have traded a greater share of the pie for increased financial security after a deal was struck to extend the current contract for a further two seasons.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which expires in June 2015, was announced by the Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) on Monday.
The deal will trigger only a slight change in the salary cap, with the current $2.478 million being lifted to $2.5m for the 2013-14 season and $2.55m in 2014-15.
The minimum wage also received a minor boost, up from $48,000 to $50,000 a season.
However, the new deal will help the PFA invest over $4m in player education and development programs over the next two years.
FFA club distribution payments will also be tied to salaries, ensuring players get paid, avoiding similar situation as caused by defunct franchises Gold Coast United and North Queensland Fury where players were left in limbo when the clubs folded.
"Our well-documented concerns, particularly around insurance and contract security have been met," Brendan Schwab, co-founder of the PFA, said.
"Players will know with much greater certainty that their contracts will be met, and we will not have the unfortunate circumstances that occurred at clubs such as North Queensland and Gold Coast."
Schwab noted the investment in players' off-field careers and wellbeing was a "quantum leap on the current situation and something we regard as very, very important".
Schwab was flanked by PFA president Simon Colosimo and A-League chief Damien de Bohun at FFA headquarters for Monday's announcement.
He admitted it was a modest increase to the salary cap, especially given the new $16m broadcasting deal with SBS and Fox Sports.
"The only reason the PFA would agree to that is we're satisfied the players are already taking home more than a fair share of revenue, and now is the time to invest in the security of the clubs and also the security of the players in education and development," Schwab said.
De Bohun said consideration was given to a longer agreement.
"Obviously we have a new broadcast rights deal and in the end we agreed two years was a good amount of time to get more certainty around exactly what things look like," he said.
The new A-League season kicks off on October 11 with a clash between Sydney FC and the Newcastle Jets at Allianz Stadium.