When Perth Glory brought former Blackburn Rovers player Jamie Maclaren to the A-League on July 1, 2013, they made sure he could settle quickly in his new home in Western Australia. He was given a three-year contract that offered stability along with clauses providing him with pathways to go back to Europe if the opportunity arrived. On top of this, the club arranged for accommodation for the length of his entire contract to allow for a smooth transition back to Australia. The only problem was that Perth Glory didn’t declare the accommodation to the Football Federation of Australia as part of their salary cap report.
This was one of many small yet significant omissions in a series of bungles that lead to Perth Glory failing to declare player agent fees, player accommodation and cars provided to members of the squad over three past seasons. There is no suggestion Jamie Maclaren or his agent did anything wrong.
Following revelations on Tuesday the club was on course to breaching this season’s salary cap before moving two of their highest paid players to marquee positions, Fairfax Media obtained documents suggesting the club did not disclose specific details relating to player benefits in past seasons. The period in question relates for three seasons; the 2011-12 when they reached the grand final, 2012-13 and 2013-14 A-League seasons. The club confirmed similar practices of player provisions still exist for many of the foreign players in their current squad. It is not alleged they haven’t reported it to the FFA this season.
The club was involved in practices of paying player agents directly for services such as contract negotiations, deal brokering as well as some listed as performing “scouting” duties. The practice of paying player agents directly does not breach salary cap regulations but must be reported and included in the salary cap alongside other signing fees such as contract sign-on bonuses.
In the 2012-13 A-League season, Perth Glory paid $50,602 to player agents for such services but nothing was listed in their final yearly report signed and submitted on May 6, 2013. Former chief operations officer John Broadman was at the club that season.
“Since I’ve been on board with Perth Glory, things have been fantastic in terms of how they’ve managed everything. Everything is done in an appropriate way, all due reporting with items submitted on the right time and duly acknowledged and signed off by the FFA,” Perth chief executive Jason Brewer said.
According to the documents, Perth Glory also failed to declare cars which were allocated to players for the 2013-14 season. Cars were used as part of a package to secure and recruit players to the club. It is believed that most foreign players were granted cars, as well as some Australian players.
It is understood there were 18 vehicles, at least half of which were allocated to players. These cars came from several different companies – one vehicle was obtained from both Barbagello Group and Midway Ford, six from Hyundai, and 10 from Europcar. The total value of the cars is understood to be valued at over $300,000. It is understood that cars were often provided to players only for the life of their contract with Perth Glory.
“With the cars which are provided, that’s a car pool… those cars are part of a central pool that are used there, that is for general club use [for non-playing staff as well]. That’s the applicable part of that,” Brewer said.
Some players were provided with accommodation for the entire stay at the club and was part of several players deals but was not always declared.
The club did not report any player accommodation to the FFA for the 2012-13 season. The following year the club declared two foreign players received club accommodation accounting to a combined sum of $48,000 but omitted one other. The club declared relocation fees for others approved by the FFA and exempted from the salary cap that season.
The current system of providing accommodation still exists this season but it is not alleged the club has failed to report it. When asked about accommodation provided for players, Brewer said; “With a number of our international players, we obviously set out in the A-League standard player contracts, there is relocation that is applicable and they use some of that relocation to be contributed towards their accommodation… The relocation is specific amounts which is excluded from the salary cap provisions.”
“From what I understand, that house is a club house which was established before me coming on board. I think Jamie was signed the season before I, or during the off season before I, there’s a club house and that’s part of that,” Brewer said.
Last night, Damien de Bohun, the head of the A-League, said: “FFA has no current concerns about Perth Glory’s salary cap compliance, but we will always investigate any credible information provided to us about the operation of the salary cap.”
Documents seen by Fairfax Media show Perth Glory paid thousands of dollars worth of player-agent fees that were not declared to the Football Federation of Australia for the 2012-13 A-League season. These undisclosed fees are understood to total $50,602.
The club paid at least one player agent a “scouting” fee in its 2012-13 season salary cap report. A source close to the club alleges the agent did not perform the tasks associated with scouting, but rather performed standard player agent work.
Why were accommodation costs for at least one player mentioned in emails but not disclosed to the FFA?
Jamie Maclaren was brought to the club on a three-year deal before the 2013-14 season, allegedly with the promise that his accommodation would be paid for by the club. That was not declared to the FFA in the salary cap report. It is understood Maclaren still lives in the accommodation, which is said to be owned by the club.
Why did the club fail to declare cars that were allocated to players in the 2013-14 A-League season?
It is understood 18 cars were rented by the club from several different providers and at least half of these cars were used to attract players to the club. It is believed most of the foreign players were provided with cars as well as a few of the locals.
Why did the club shift two of its highest earners to marquee positions at the beginning of this A-League season to avoid breaching the cap?
Perth Glory played two games in the FFA Cup and two games in the 2014-15 A-League season with a squad that would have exceeded the cap for that season.