The chaos that has engulfed Professional Footballers Australia has split the organisation with players turning on each other in one of the ugliest episodes in the organisation's history.
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It is understood that seven A-League clubs have failed to renew their subscriptions to the PFA, a protest vote from players against the organisation's existing structure and what they believe were botched collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
The disaffected players believe the long-running negotiation was poorly handled in public, particularly in relation to the attacks on the PFA made by FFA chief executive David Gallop, which they felt led to players looking "greedy" and led to a loss of public support.
The drawn-out saga did not result in any A-League matches being boycotted, but led to the Matildas calling off a two-match tour of the US and the Socceroos pulling out of a promotional appearance in Perth. The FFA even ceased recognising the PFA for a brief period as negotiations collapsed.
The CBA was eventually settled in November, but players were still unhappy with the agreed terms and some claim they felt obligated to sign.
Subsequently, representatives from six clubs have signed a motion of "no confidence" in PFA chief executive Adam Vivian. The motion itself has no legal grounding, but only 5 per cent of the PFA membership need to register to force a general meeting.
However, Vivian retains the support of key figures inside the PFA, including the man he worked closest with during CBA negotiations and PFA stalwart, former Socceroo Simon Colosimo. The most important figure in PFA history, Brendan Schwab, now the head of UNI World Athletes, is also backing Vivian.
The players in revolt attempted to keep the siege quiet but it is understood a disgruntled figure within the organisation leaked news of the split to media outlets on Wednesday.
Fairfax Media was subsequently shown a document outlining the list of grievances by the group, with four key issues in play: governance, transparency, handling of the CBA saga and trust.
The PFA has long boasted of having a near-perfect membership take up but those numbers have collapsed this season. It is believed that only three clubs – Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar – are sticking firm with the union.
That is to be somewhat expected, with Roar captain Matt McKay, the PFA president, Glory goalkeeper Ante Covic, the PFA vice-president, and the union having close relations, through Leigh Broxham, with Victory.
It is thought the key agitators are players at Western Sydney Wanderers, Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners. Reds striker and long-time PFA executive member Bruce Djite has been particularly vocal behind closed doors.
Members of the union executive and A-League delegates engaged in a heated phone discussion last week, which served only to deepen the divide.
Djite has long been outspoken on player welfare issues but, notably, distanced himself from the CBA negotiations as they went on.
In July, he said a "teleconference of 50-plus players" reached the same conclusion regarding the FFA's initial offer, saying "not one player said it was reasonable".
However, by October, Djite was no longer actively involved, saying "we haven't had an executive meeting for quite a long time" and that "I don't know if we're any closer to a deal than a couple of weeks ago or a month ago".
Wanderers skipper Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Central Coast Mariners' midfielder Nick Montgomery are also thought to have expressed a similar view.