The A-League season launch was as much about hyping up the action as it was about securing the long term future of the sport in Australia.
In an already crowded sporting market place, the recent stoush between the Matildas and Football Federation Australia, which saw the cancellation of a tour to the USA over money, highlighted just how tough the financial climate was.
FFA Chief Executive David Gallop said he wanted a whole of game deal, including the Matildas, Socceroos and A-League players, done sooner rather than later.
At the season launch he called on the Professional Footballer’s Association: “to get moving on signing a deal”.
“Affordabilty is the key and the deal on the table is a good one,” he said.
But the PFA’s response was to stress the importance of attracting and retaining quality Australian and international players – something that is harder to do without an attractive pay structure, and without the stars the long term future of the A-League could be bleak.
“Football in Australia needs to become more professional and better engage with the game’s stakeholders,” PFA chief executive Adam Vivian said.
With or without a collective bargaing agreement Thursday’s season opener between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar will go ahead.
But a deal needs to be done before the possibility of future strike action is ruled out.
And with money clearly being an issue for both players and administrators, the belt tightening appears to have begun in earnest.
Rather than have the 10 club captains assemble in Sydney from their various home bases, the season launch saw them appear via video link instead.