Recent reports from Professional Footballers Australia indicate that the annual salary for an A-League player is around $135,000, excluding marquee players.
Lugt says that this figure is far too high when you compare it to what America’s top league (MLS) pays their players and when you consider that most Australian clubs are struggling financially.
“We've never had to be as realistic about things as we do right now, but I don't think we, as a league, are realistic at all when it comes to wages,'' Lugt told the Herald. ''The average salary in the A-League is far more than the average salary in the MLS, but that's a league that's been around for more than 15 years, in a huge market and with average crowds of 16,000. I can't see any single reason for the fact that the salaries in Australia are higher than they are in the US.
''Nobody can explain to me why that should be the case. Do we have better players? I don't think so. There's no justification for average players here earning above-average wages.''
Lugt believes that players wages should come down and more money should be put into the development of the game.
“I think it's more in the long-term interests of all stakeholders to invest more in coaching and development instead of squeezing out an extra $15,000 or $20,000 for today's players,'' he added.
''We've got a joint responsibility to create optimal pathways for young and talented players, who, if they are genuinely good enough, can go overseas and get a pay cheque.''