FFA, A-League refs reach agreement

The game's governing body and its match officials have ended the impasse which had threatened to disrupt the start of the 2013-14 A-League, but further talks have been scheduled

Football Federation Australia and the A-League's match officials have come to terms over new contracts ahead of the 2013-14 season, but are set to resume negotiations later this year aimed at forming a wider collective bargaining agreement.

FFA released a statement on Thursday announcing a 19 percent rise in match payments for officials, as well as reimbursement for a range of medical costs and confirmation the governing body's medical insurance policy will cover the referees in case of injury sustained in games and officially sanctioned training.

There was no mention of reimbursement for time, expense and loss of earnings as a consequence of the officials' demanding training schedule, a concern which is set to be addressed when negotiations resume over a formal CBA in November or December.

A legal representative of the newly formed Professional Football Referees' Association confirmed to Goal Australia that the two parties had overcome the differences, with all officials due to sign and return their new contracts.

"There has been a meeting of the minds, in the sense that the match officials, through their association, the PFRA, they've reached an agreement with the FFA over improved conditions," the representative said.

"The parties have agreed to sign their contract, there's been some changes to the contract, there's been some improvement on various aspects of the working conditions, including medical benefits.

"So there's been an agreement that they'll sign that contract, but then there's going to be, later in the year, a further negotiation in and around improved conditions for future years, which would form the basis of a collective bargaining agreement.

"That's a commitment to negotiate in good faith, [from] both parties, the PFRA and the FFA, with a view to entering into a collective bargaining agreement, which would set out improved working conditions for seasons beyond the upcoming season.

"Those issues will addressed in the upcoming negotiations for the collective bargaining agreement."

Goal Australia now has its own and account, so for all the latest news and features on Australian football follow us by clicking on the above links