Slow Start For Marquee Scheme
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EXCLUSIVE: Only three of the eight Hyundai A-League clubs will boast junior marquee players when the new season kicks off on August 15 with the PFA disappointed the scheme has yet to ignite.
From the start of this campaign clubs are each allowed one under 23 player who can have up to $150,000 of his wage met outside of the salary cap.
The junior marquee was introduced to try and encourage quality youngsters to delay their overseas ambitions for a little longer by providing a financial incentive to remain with their A-League side.
Each of the eight A-League teams has been contacted by au.fourfourtwo.com and only three, Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory and Newcastle Jets, confirmed they had signed junior marquees for the new season – Mark Bridge (Sydney), Nick Ward (Victory) and Adam D’Apuzzo (Jets).
PFA chief executive Brendan Schwab is surprised the pick up has been so slow but feels the key to clubs embracing it is likely to be expansion – and the intense competition that brings.
He told au.fourfourtwo.com: “It is disappointing that we haven’t seen this really embraced as yet, especially as the benefits are there for clubs to enjoy.
“It is designed to try and keep our youngsters here in Australia that little bit longer with clubs in a position to benefit further down the line and more than recoup their investment through a transfer fee when the players do eventually decide to go. I think clubs need to adopt a medium term approach.”
Schwab believes the more progressive clubs will eventually embrace the situation and feels that A-League expansion might cause clubs to think again.
He said: “When we have a situation where there’s ferocious competition then I think clubs will want to use every means available to them to try and stay ahead of their rivals.”
A PFA proposal, ultimately rejected, was to split the $150,000 equally to cover three players rather than just the one.
Melbourne Victory were the first to take advantage of the initiative and at the time they unveiled Ward as their under 23 marquee, football operations manager Gary Cole said: “We’ve announced Nick Ward as our new Under 23 marquee player, which is a great decision by FFA to enable that.
“The way it’s structured, with clubs being able to spend up to $150,000 outside of the salary cap, gives you an opportunity to keep players in the country, albeit for maybe only another year or two, and establish them.”