Australian women boycott practice, games vs. USWNT now in serious doubt

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If you were planning to watch the U.S. women’s national team play later this month against Australia, you may have to re-jig your plans.

The USWNT are due to play the Matildas in a two-game series on U.S. soil on Sept. 17 and 20, but an ongoing dispute between the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and Football Federation Australia (FFA) has seen the Australia women’s national team down tools.

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PFA have decided to take action against the federation, which in turn forced the head coach of the national team, Alen Stajcic, to cancel practice on Tuesday and leave the two friendlies between the U.S. and Australia in Detroit, Michigan and Birmingham, Alabama, in serious doubt.

The AP states that the PFA is seeking “an increase in the salary cap at each of the 10 A-League clubs, an increase in payments for international matches, and increases in spending on wages, air travel, accommodation, and benefits for the Matildas, the national women’s team.”

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How do the players feel about this? Backed into a corner would be a good summary. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who played for Australia as they reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup for the third-straight time in Canada this summer, had the following to say about the decision to boycott training.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make,” Williams said. “For the past two months the players have been unpaid and have made every attempt to reach an agreement that gives the women’s game a platform for growth.

“This is about the future of Australian football. We want to establish football as the sport of choice for Australian women, and we want to be one of the best nations in the world.”

Talks are ongoing between the PFA and the FFA but there is not much progress being made as the men’s national team was told to boycott a sponsorship event in Perth before a qualifier last week.

The FFA have said they’ve opened their books to show the PFA what would be a sensible offer in terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, but right now it seems like both parties are far apart from agreeing anything.

All of this leaves the USA vs. Australia in serious doubt of happening, which would be a huge shame as the USWNT’s victory tour continues following their World Cup success in 2015 which began with a 3-1 group stage win over the Matildas in Winnipeg.