Referees controlled last season’s A-League and W-League games without contracts

Marco MonteverdeNCA NewsWire
Alireza Faghani is among the referees on strike. Peter Wallis
Camera IconAlireza Faghani is among the referees on strike. Peter Wallis Credit: News Corp Australia

A-League referees were forced to officiate last season’s matches uncontracted until just three weeks before the start of the finals series.

And the matter was worse in the women’s competition then known as the W-League, with 2020-21 season contracts for referees not given to match officials to sign until after the completion of the campaign.

Such conditions, which referees feared opened them up to a lack of financial support in the event of injury, are among the problems the Professional Football Referees Australia want changed.

As reported on Tuesday night, PFRA match officials have gone on strike less than six weeks out from the start of the A-League season.

Upcoming FFA Cup games and A-League trial matches will be controlled by NPL and other non-PFRA referees unless the matter is resolved.

“We don’t have ill-feeling towards those who are going to referee in those matches,” PFRA president Paul Cetrangolo said.

“We just want these matters resolved.”

Paul Cetrangolo - International soccer referee
Camera IconPFRA president Paul Cetrangolo is demanding change for referees. Credit: News Limited, TOM HUNTLEY

Cetrangolo, who will have talks with FA bosses on Thursday, said it was farcical that referees were in charge of A-League and W-League matches for so long last season before signing contracts.

“Would a player play for an A-League or W-League team without having signed a contract? Of course not and it needs to be the same with referees,” he said.

Football Australia’s decision not to renew the contracts of its referees’ boss Strebre Delovski, and five of his coaching and training staff, including Peter Green and Eddie Lennie, has meant that referees have been preparing for this season without any formal training.

The PFRA is also unhappy with the lack of explanation given by an FA referees’ committee for the removal of the highly experienced assistant referee Matthew Cream from Australia’s list of FIFA match officials.

Cream, 46, ran the line in last season’s A-League grand final and has been a FIFA international assistant referee since 2000.

“Age limits are no longer applied by FIFA. The treatment of Matthew hasn’t been good enough,” Cetrangolo said.

Originally published as Referees controlled last season’s A-League and W-League games without contracts

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