Sage says PFA irrelevant in bitter pay war

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage is confident he can secure new deals with his remaining contracted players without going through the PFA.

Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has hit back at Professional Footballers Australia, saying they are becoming irrelevant and won't have a leg to stand on if they try to sue him.

The PFA slammed Sage for his decision to stand down his entire squad after the clubs and the players' union couldn't agree to a new pay deal.

The A-League club owners want the salary cap to be reduced by 30 per cent to allow them to deal with the devastating financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the PFA are unhappy with several aspects of the proposed collective bargaining agreement, including the size of the pay cuts and the lack of options available to players who don't agree to the size of the cut they are offered.

The PFA described Sage's stand-down notice as an "unlawful action" and they have threatened to pursue legal action on behalf of the players.

Sage says they have no chance of winning.

"I'm not breaking contracts, all I'm doing is invoking the Fair Work Act under COVID," Sage told AAP.

"We've lost more than 70 per cent of our income.

"So legally they (the PFA) have got no leg to stand on."

Glory were dealt a triple blow on Wednesday when defender Tomislav Mrcela was granted an early release to return to Croatia, and new recruits Andrew Nabbout and Nathaniel Atkinson were also released without ever arriving at the club due to border restrictions.

Atkinson is expected to stay at Melbourne City.

It means Perth have just 13 contracted players.

Sage says Glory are now in the process of negotiating a new contract with each player individually.

"I think all the clubs now are going to negotiate like we are directly one on one with the players and the PFA will become irrelevant," Sage said.

"I think we'll be able to re-sign just about every player under an individual contract ... and every other club thinks the same.

"So there will be no deal with the PFA, it will be a deal with individual players. That's what it's come to."

Sage criticised the PFA for the way they phrased the proposed pay cuts to the players.

"The very first question they sent out to the players was: How much of a pay cut will you accept?" Sage explained.

"The options were five per cent, 10 per cent, 15 per cent, 20 per cent, 25 per cent, 30 per cent. If you got that letter, what would you tick?

"Everyone ticks five per cent. That's why they said it's unanimous. It's a stupid question.

"But if the question was reasonably put: During this current crisis, given the AFL, Super Rugby have taken 50 per cent, will you take a 30 per cent cut?

"I bet you all the players would have ticked yes. But they didn't get asked that question."