Central Coast Mariners stood down as players union seeks FFA help
Central Coast have become the second A-League club confirmed to stand down players and staff as the financial pitch of the coronavirus pandemic hits.
Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) announced on Tuesday it had received confirmation from Mariners players that they had received stand down notices.
The Mariners decision comes after Perth Glory owner Tony Sage took similar steps last weekend -- and then predicted all other clubs would follow suit.
Just like it did with Sage, the PFA has issued Mariners owner Mike Charlesworth with a letter of demand seeking the immediate reinstatement of players.
"These actions undermine attempts for our game to overcome common challenges, fight for common interests and re-establish our sport," PFA chief executive John Didulica said.
"While other codes have fostered unity and demonstrated leadership amid crisis, we are at risk of regressing to the lowest common denominator."
AAP understands Brisbane Roar players and staff have also been stood down amid concerns a $900,000 quarterly payment to clubs by broadcaster Foxtel will not be made due to the league's suspension amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
FFA officials are reportedly starting the hunt for a new broadcaster with concerns growing that Fox Sports will walk out on its $57 million-a-year deal.
Didulica said his organisation had written to FFA to ask that it follows the lead of other sporting codes in this country and find a collective and uniform solution for the sport.
Despite the concerns, Sydney FC chief executive Danny Townsend is optimistic professional football will continue in Australia after the outbreak and its subsequent restrictions have passed.
The Sky Blues have placed all non-essential staff on paid leave until the end of April but Townsend admits the club will have to assess its position if the postponement drags on.
"Football in this country has come a long way and we're not going to let this situation unsettle that," Townsend told AAP.
"Obviously it's going to have an impact and what we look like coming out of this is probably different to what we look like going into it.
"That's probably every business in Australia, not just football... but I definitely think professional football will remain as it were before and we'll just have to adapt with the necessary financial impacts that will come down the line."