Disgruntled Socceroos players are in a pay dispute with Football Federation Australia just days before opening their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, the players’ union said Thursday.

Professional Footballers Australia said it had launched legal action against the FFA, alleging the country’s governing body had not handed over match payments and commercial bonuses owed to the national team.

A PFA spokesman said the formal grievance claim was filed with the federation’s independent disputes arbitrator, but declined to specify how much money was involved.

“The PFA can confirm that a grievance has been filed in accordance with the Socceroos Collective Bargaining Agreement 2011–2015 (CBA) against Football Federation Australia in relation to Socceroos agreed payments,” the spokesman said in a statement.

“This is a matter to be determined by an independent arbitrator.”

Under the agreement, which is due to expire on June 30, “agreed payments” include match fees, prize money and bonuses.

The players have also exercised their right to have the Socceroos’ commercial contracts independently audited, the PFA said.

The dispute comes with the Socceroos in training in Dubai ahead of their June 16 opening World Cup qualifier against Kyrgyzstan in Bishkek, and its timing immediately drew fire from the FFA.

“The PFA’s decision to make public statements about a confidential and independent dispute resolution process days before a FIFA World Cup qualifier is inappropriate and unnecessarily disruptive,” FFA chief executive David Gallop said in a statement.

“The matters in question relate back to 2010, were first raised in August last year and are not material to the current qualification campaign.” – Agence France-Presse

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