Football Federation Australia issued a stern warning to uncontracted referees when rookies handled two A-League friendly matches over the weekend. The A-League's top flight match officials shock match day omissions comes after FFA reportedly locked out 22 A-League uncontracted officials from last weekend's AIS-based referees preseason assessment in Canberra.
FFA made a strong stand when Jarred Gillett (photo) - the A-League's 2012 grand final referee - was scrubbed off officiating at the Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Heart clash on Monday. Less than 24 hours earlier the game Newcastle Jets and Wellington Phoenix was officiated by a Football NSW referee and not a FFA website listed A-League official. The friendly games snub comes after all uncontracted A-League officials including Australia's 14 FIFA-badged officials were willing to participate in the assessment which was conducted by Asian Football Confederation officials from Uzbekistan and Malaysia. It's understood FFA did not want the "rebels" to attend the seminar. But FFA seemingly upped the contract dispute stakes when Gillett was first assigned the Roar and Heart clash in Lismore, north eastern New South Wales before Football Queensland referees coordinator David Wiebe was appointed for the clash. Football NSW premier league referee Andrew Best was charged with Phoenix's 1-0 win over Jets at Rockwell Automation Park in Weston, NSW.
It's understood A-League referees and assistants are unhappy with the terms of the new contracts after FFA had less than a fortnight ago issued a 20 per cent increase - match officials' first pay rise in five years. A-League referees are also reportedly very concerned with two key contract clauses. FFA has the power to terminate contracts at any time and if match officials suffer losses while officiating FFA can also distance itself from those issues. A-League referees also have to pay their own medical expenses and do not get fiscally rewarded for training four times a week. Some referees are not up to date with superannuation payments from FFA. Sources have also claimed out-of-contract referees have been pressured into signing the agreements by state federation officials after recommendations had been tabled to FFA officials long before the 2013/14 A-League season budgets had been set.
Source: Herald Sun