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Jun 15, 2010

Fowler launches legal action against Fury

Perth Glory striker Robbie Fowler has launched legal action against his former club North Queensland and Football Federation Australia (FFA) after his contract with the Fury was terminated at the start of the year.

Fowler, the Fury's marquee signing for their first A-League season, and five other North Queensland players were left without contracts after previous Fury chairman Don Matheson withdrew his financial support for the club, leaving the side in FFA administration.

A subsequent corporate restructure, where North Queensland Football Club Pty Ltd was replaced by the FFA-owned North Queensland Fury Football Club Pty Ltd saw several player contracts terminated.

According to Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) chief executive Brendan Schwab, the FFA reneged on a promise to North Queensland players last February that all player contracts would be assigned if the Fury survived, something that occurred when Perth and Adelaide United previously went into administration.

Schwab said the PFA re-negotiated contracts for all the Fury players except Fowler, the organisation saying they opted for legal action in this instance as the FFA had terminated the 35-year-old's contract without 'just cause' and without negotiating any outside settlement.

"The case is of fundamental importance to all A-League players, as it goes to the heart of the security of a player contract in the A-League,'' Schwab said on the PFA website.

"To Robbie's credit, he could have gone and played in just about any country around the world and forgotten about the Fury situation, but he is committed to developing the Australian game and ensuring contract security for Australian players.''

Speaking just after his arrival in Perth last month, Fowler didn't mince his words when asked about the North Queensland situation.

"I think the way the players were treated up there (in North Queensland) was disgraceful to be honest,'' Fowler said.

"(But) I'm here now because thankfully the (Glory) chairman and the manager gave us another chance to play football over here and Perth Glory is the place.''

Fowler wouldn't go into details of the situation at the time but elaborated on the PFA website on Tuesday.

"The players in the A-League feel very strongly that all player contracts must be protected whenever an A-League club is restructured,'' Fowler said. "Players make career and lifestyle-changing decisions in reliance on the contracts they have signed.

"Obviously, the game's extensive efforts to attract the highest calibre of players into the competition are only as strong as the security of the contracts they sign.

"This case is not about the compensation, it is about ensuring contract security for all players in the A-League and more specifically for the players who have suffered from the way in which the FFA handled the player contracts.''

Fowler will be seeking compensation for damages and a declaration of his rights.

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