September 9, 2015 / 7:59 PM / 3 years ago

Australian women refuse to travel for U.S. games

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australia’s women’s soccer team have withdrawn from two matches against world champions the United States this month due to a festering labor dispute.

The Matildas pulled out of the tour late on Wednesday, the union that represents players in the country, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), said in a statement.

“The players are currently uncontracted and are under no obligation to participate in any Matildas related activities,” PFA chief executive Ben Vivian said in a statement.

“The players feel they have been left with no option other than to take this course of action ... (and) the players stance will not change until a new agreement is reached.”

Some 60,000 tickets had been sold for the Sept. 17 and 20 matches in Detroit and Birmingham, Alabama.

The women’s team had already boycotted a training camp ahead of the tour as part of the ongoing dispute over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The Matildas have been on the front foot since the World Cup, when local media highlighted the quarter-finalists’ modest pay and conditions relative to the men’s team.

Relations with the men’s team have also become increasingly toxic, with players boycotting commercial appearances in Perth last week in the lead-up to their World Cup qualifier against Bangladesh.

Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Ed Osmond

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