A-League Boss Threw 'Tantrum' in Pay Talks: PFA's Djite

JULY 14, 2015

Melbourne. The boss of Australia's top professional soccer league stormed out of pay negotiations and threw a "child's tantrum" when the players' association turned down the league's offer, Socceroo Bruce Djite has said.

Talks between Football Federation Australia and A-League players have broken down after the failure to strike a new collective bargaining agreement by a June 30 deadline.

Both sides have publicly vented their frustrations as the dispute drags on.

Djite, a striker for Adelaide United in Australia's 10-team competition, said the tension in the last round of talks had led to A-League boss Damien de Bohun storming out.

"He was very agitated and stormed out," Djite, who sits on the Professional Footballers Australia executive committee, said in comments published by Australian Associated Press on Tuesday.

"Damien is a cool, calm, collected guy generally but it went out the window ... he just left in a child's tantrum, because it was clear the deal wasn't going to get done."

Both parties are hoping to strike a six-year deal that includes payments for internationals on both the men's and women's teams, but A-League players are unhappy with a freeze on the domestic competition's salary cap pending a new broadcast deal.

"We had a teleconference of 50-plus players and everyone was on the same page," said Djite.

"Not one player said it was reasonable.

"Revenues continue to rise but they're wanting to freeze the cap for the next two seasons and potentially a third depending on broadcast rights, it's unbelievable."

The FFA said players would stand to receive a 12 percent increase in payments next season according to their forecasts based on "new exemptions and flexibilities" in the salary cap.

Speaking on behalf of A-League clubs, Adelaide United Chairman Greg Griffin said last month that the FFA's new CBA offer was "the best package of salary, benefits and certainty ever put to A-League players".

Djite said players were committed to striking a new CBA and would explore all "legal ... and industrial avenues" to bring the FFA back to the negotiating table.

"I cannot sell this proposal to my team mates because it's not a good deal," he said.