A-League considers domestic marquee rule change

Football Federation Australia (FFA) is considering changing the A-League’s marquee rules to allow two foreigners to be paid outside the salary cap.

The move would ease the restrictions on A-League clubs’ recruitment and potentially allow the stronger clubs to spend more on foreign superstars.

Under the current rules, A-League clubs can carry two players outside their salary cap, but one must be an Australian player (domestic marquee) and the other a foreigner (international marquee).

Seven clubs had domestic marquees in 2014-15, but three have already exited this off-season, meaning there are six vacancies in the A-League.

Only Central Coast, Newcastle Jets and Wellington Phoenix don’t currently have international marquees and are unlikely to sign one given their financial constraints.

“As part of our annual end of season review of the A-League that incorporates all stakeholders, FFA is considering the current rules around Marquee Players,” an FFA spokesperson told FourFourTwo.

FourFourTwo understands a decision is likely to be made in the next few weeks.

Mark Milligan (Bani Yas), Matt Spiranovic (Hangzhou Greentown) and Josh Kennedy (retired) have all moved on, leaving Melbourne Victory, Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City searching for replacements.

Beyond Tim Cahill, there are few genuine overseas-based Australian players who could fit the bill of why the domestic marquee was originally introduced in 2010.

The FFA arbitrates the domestic marquee based on assessing criteria including the number of a player’s Socceroos appearances and their international/national profile.

Mark Bresciano, James Troisi and Tomi Juric have been linked with A-League clubs this off-season as potential domestic marquees.

The Professional Footballers’ Australia (PFA) confirmed to FourFourTwo that no discussions have taken place about a change to the marquee rules during the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) discussions with the FFA.

However, the FFA is free to impose working conditions on A-League clubs, although the PFA would likely be consulted.