Home » Socceroos legend Robbie Slater blasts Aussie football bosses for ‘making the A-League’s worst fears come true’ as competition plunges into new crisis

Socceroos legend Robbie Slater blasts Aussie football bosses for ‘making the A-League’s worst fears come true’ as competition plunges into new crisis

Socceroos legend Robbie Slater blasts Aussie football bosses for ‘making the A-League’s worst fears come true’ as competition plunges into new crisis

  • A-League clubs have seen their central distribution fund slashed
  • All A-League men’s clubs must spend at least $2.25million on players
  • Comes as a previous $140million injection of funds was squandered 

Socceroos great Robbie Slater has slammed football bosses from the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) for ‘making the A-League‘s worst fears come true’ as the sport is engulfed in a new crisis.

It comes after A-League clubs were informed this week by the APL that their share of the central distribution fund has been slashed to $530,000 ahead of the 2024-2025 season kicking off in October.

Many clubs were anticipating the figure would be close to $1million – and in a telling comparison, in the recently completed season the amount allocated was $2million per A-League team.

‘Why are the clubs – who have had nothing to do with the poor governance and spending habits – left to cope with the fall-out?’ Slater asked.

‘They [APL] have made the A-League‘s worst fears come true.’

The bombshell announcement following an APL board meeting on Wednesday has left many clubs facing a bleak future.

The A-League Men salary floor – the minimum amount clubs must spend – is $2.25million and the salary cap is $2.6million.

While wealthier sides such as Melbourne City will be able to plug the gaps financially, it leaves smaller clubs like the Newcastle Jets battling to cover the  significant shortfall before a ball has even been kicked.

Socceroos great Robbie Slater has slammed football bosses from the Australian Professional Leagues (APL) for ‘making the A-League’s worst fears come true’

It comes after A-League clubs were informed this week their share of the central distribution fund has been slashed to $530,000 - down from $2million this season (pictured, Central Coast Mariners after winning the Grand Final in May)

It comes after A-League clubs were informed this week their share of the central distribution fund has been slashed to $530,000 – down from $2million this season (pictured, Central Coast Mariners after winning the Grand Final in May)

Marquee signings such as Melbourne Victory's Bruno Fornaroli at his peak appear to be a thing of the past in the embattled A-League

Marquee signings such as Melbourne Victory’s Bruno Fornaroli at his peak appear to be a thing of the past in the embattled A-League

It is also anticipated some A-League clubs will have to trim their already skinny on-field and off-field departments to avoid running at a substantial loss.

Marquee player signings from Europe and Asia will also be consigned to the Australian football history books – at least for the next few years. 

APL chair Stephen Conroy claimed the reduction in central distribution came as no shock to A-League clubs – even if they are due to experience significant pain over the next financial year.

‘While clubs are obviously hurting by the size of this reduction, no one gave any indication they have that level of problem in the meeting at all,’ Conroy said.

‘They obviously weren’t dancing a jig, but no one said right, ‘that’s it we are shutting the doors’.’

The APL was forced to make significant cuts to head office in January as a result of overspending on its digital arm KEEPUP and burning through $140million from private equity firm Silver Lake.

Further complicating matters is the unwillingness of the APL to allow an independent audit into their finances.

Other ventures, notably the propping up of Perth Glory, the delay in getting expansion fees from a Canberra A-League men’s side and the collapse of broadcast production partner Global Advance have hampered the A-Leagues’ ability to thrive since gaining independence from Football Australia in 2020.

In addition, the TV deal with Network Ten, who retain rights to the competition until the end of the 2025-26 season with streaming service Paramount, is laced with targets the A-Leagues must hit to guarantee funding from their broadcast partner.

‘The league ran too fast and spent too much money,’ Conroy explained. ‘The ability to dip into a capital reserve to fund losses just doesn’t exist.’

A-Leagues commissioner Nick Garcia added the APL was hopeful of finalising a deal with a new production company and that a Canberra ALM side would enter the competition for the 2025/26 season.