Wed, Mar 09, 2016 - Page 19 News List

Australian soccer to fund signing of marquee players


The Football Federation Australia (FFA) yesterday said it would provide financial backing to help lure marquee players to the A-League as it outlined a new vision to boost the domestic game.

FFA chairman Steven Lowy said the sport had reached a critical juncture and more resources would be pumped in to promote the competition, aware that a bigger fan base would harness greater commercial revenues.

“This is the shop front and the engine room of Australian football week-in, week-out, and FFA shares a common view with club owners that the A-League is nowhere near reaching its full potential,” Lowy said. “FFA will undertake a refresh of the A-League brand and commit more resources to marketing.”

The decision comes with the Chinese Super League throwing huge amounts of money into the game with a record-breaking spending spree this year attracting players such as Alex Teixeira and Jackson Martinez.

It also follows Socceroo star Tim Cahill blasting the FFA this month for its perceived lack of vision toward the domestic league.

Cahill was critical of the governing body for failing to capitalize on its past star players, such as Alessandro del Piero, Shinji Ono and Dwight Yorke.

Lowy said the FFA recognized the need to bring in more big names players to spark further interest.

“Our strategic focus on the A-League and its power to entertain underpins a related initiative we’re announcing today — one objective that can’t wait is to attract marquee players to the A-League,” he said. “It is the task of clubs to recruit those players, but FFA can help. Under this approach, FFA will work with A-League clubs in targeting marquee players and providing support, including financial backing.”

The Sydney Morning Herald said the FFA would invest an annual “seven-figure” sum into subsidizing clubs’ cost of signing high-profile international names, which would expand to a A$10 million (US$7.4 million) pot once a new broadcast deal is secured, targeted for next year.

The FFA would also invest more in digital platforms to help increase brand awareness.

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