Former Liverpool star Daniel Sturridge has promised to leave his ego at the door when he arrives at Perth Glory, declaring he isn’t coming to Australia for a mere holiday.
With lingering uncertainty over the A-League’s future, its players – especially those currently stood down – are desperate for clarity.
An FFA assessment of the A-League’s status during the COVID-19 pandemic was set to be finalised on Wednesday but an update isn’t expected until Thursday.
The competition was suspended in late March and seven of the 11 clubs – bar Melbourne Victory, Melbourne City, Sydney FC and Wellington – have stood down players.
There is also uncertainty over host broadcaster Foxtel’s ongoing commitment.
“FFA came out and spoke when we stopped playing and we haven’t heard a thing since,” Perth Glory goalkeeper Liam Reddy told AAP.
“It’s quite frustrating that the FFA haven’t been able to come out and clarify anything with the broadcaster about what the next step is.
“That’s caused a lot of issues with players’ well-being.”
Players are eligible for the JobKeeper package but Reddy said he, and others, were still awaiting financial relief.
“We haven’t received anything in our bank accounts, which adds to it (the anxiety) unfortunately,” he said.
Reddy, 38, said seeing other codes negotiate pay deals and discuss plans to return to training had frustrated footballers.
“We’re not silly, we know the game’s suffering financially like everything else and we won’t be immune to that as a game and as players,” Reddy said.
“But just to be able to sit down and negotiate would be nice. We see the other codes going into that dialogue with their governing bodies.”
Reddy believed the season could be completed but emphasised there was ongoing uncertainty for players, with many uncontracted after May 31.
“About 90-95 per cent of Australian footballers can probably go one, maybe two months without pay – after that, we’re going to have to look for other jobs,” he said.
“We’re not paid like the NRL and AFL players are paid and we’re definitely not paid like European players.
“Anxiety levels are very high because players have families to support.
“Players are now looking at other options in terms of work and there’s not a lot of work out there at the moment.
“That’s just building the anxiety because we’re getting no feedback from the FFA or Fox on what the future holds.”