SYDNEY:- Australia’s Western Sydney Wanderers were Monday travelling to Morocco for the FIFA Club World Cup despite fears they could boycott the tournament over a pay dispute.
The Asian champions left for the north African country with no agreement between the club and its players over how much they will be paid for taking part.
“The players’ decision to get on the plane was a show of good faith,” a Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) spokesman told AFP.
The PFA said the club wants to pay players 10 percent of prize money, fees and bonuses from the Club World Cup, valued at least US$1,000,000. But the players believe they are due 50 percent.
The footballers argue that under their collective bargaining agreement, a club must pay players at least half of all prize money, fees and bonuses after winning the AFC Champions League (ACL).
“By reason of winning the ACL, the Wanderers have qualified for the FIFA Club World Cup,” association chief executive Adam Vivian said in a statement on Sunday.
He said club officials had told players that the obligation to share 50 percent of prize money did not extend to the Club World Cup.
“The club has insisted on sharing only 10 percent of its guaranteed payment of US$1,000,000 with the players, a percentage which is without precedent,” Vivian said.
He added that his association had told players that if their agreement does not cover the tournament, they were not obliged to participate.
However, the Western Sydney Wanderers said “players’ bonuses at the Club World Cup (CWC) will not be limited to 10 percent”.
“This is an appearance payment which is not contingent on any wins and equates to over Aus$120,000,” the club said in a statement.
“Should the team win their opening match then the players would receive over Aus$600,000 as a minimum for reaching the next round, Aus$1,950,000 the round after that, and over Aus$3,000,000 should they be ultimately successful.”
The club said the players shared more than Aus$950,000 for their success in the AFC Champions League.
The Wanderers added that any money left over from the Champions League or Club World Cup winnings would be used to improve the club’s training and player facilities.
The Wanderers, who are struggling in the domestic A-League, are scheduled to play their first Club World Cup game against North/Central American champions Cruz Azul on December 13.