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W-League players not ripped off: Roar

Professional Footballers Australia says Brisbane W-League players have been asked to take pay cuts.
Roar asks W-League players to take pay cut
Photo Source: AAP

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Brisbane Roar insists their W-League team will be financially better off this season than last despite asking 14 players to take pay cuts and showing one the door.

Professional Footballers Australia is again at loggerheads with the Roar, whose latest off-field controversy surrounds attempts to reverse decisions taken by former managing director Daniel Cobb.

Cobb served in the job for two months before he was sacked by owners the Bakrie Group in August - but seven days before he was dismissed, he presented increased contract offers to W-League players, among them Matildas co-captain Clare Polkinghorne, Katrina Gorry and Tameka Butt.

The offers were accepted and signed, but a month later, Cobb's replacement as managing director Mark Kingsman told the players their new contracts were excessive and wouldn't be honoured, with one import told she was no longer required.

Last Monday, the players were issued revised contacts on terms that would see their salaries drop by 40 per cent compared with what they were offered by Cobb, amounting to total savings of $45,000 for the Roar.

But Kingsman claims the Roar will go "very, very close" to spending the full W-League salary cap of $150,000 this season and says it is unfair to suggest anyone is being ripped off.

"We're paying almost three times as much to the same number of girls as we paid last year," he told ABC Radio.

"That's a tremendous step forward and in line with that we've created a far better coaching practice, medical practice, player welfare... I would refute that we are in any way disadvantaging our girls."

PFA is concerned why no male players were asked to take pay cuts or why the club couldn't have found savings of $45,000 elsewhere in their budget.

A club statement said the Roar were engaged in "positive dialogue" with the players, who are believed to be unhappy that legally-binding contracts they signed in good faith are being renegotiated, but are somewhat understanding of the circumstances.

It is an awkward situation for the Roar when other women's sports like netball have taken huge strides forward with pay and conditions, with the decision by the Bakries to appoint Cobb in June coming back to haunt them.

Little due diligence was done on Cobb, a Melbourne-based businessman who claimed he was the leader of a consortium that had agreed to buy the club.

The sale never happened, and Cobb is understood to have left behind a complicated financial mess.

PFA chief executive John Didiluca said they were working closely with Roar players and W-League chief Greg O'Rourke to resolve the impasse.

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