PFA opposes visa spot cuts for A-League

The Professional Footballers Australia has confirmed its opposition to any reduction in the number of visa players at A-League clubs for next season.

A-League club owners and Football Federation Australia CEO David Gallop are set for an important meeting in Sydney in mid-December, where the topic of visa spots is expected to be fiercely debated.

The FFA intends to reduce the allowance from five players to four in 2015-16 with two chief aims – nurturing young Australian talent and aligning with the AFC, in terms of setting up a 3+1 model.

Given the FFA’s intent of developing homegrown talent, there was some confusion on the PFA’s position.

However, PFA chief executive Adam Vivian said the membership supported retaining the current model given the benefits foreign players brought to the quality of the product.

“You’ve got to remember from our perspective, the foreign visa players are a huge part of our membership and we’ve got the utmost respect for what they’ve delivered in terms of talent and quality,” Vivian told FourFourTwo.

“Our PFA October Player of the Month, the entire group was made up of foreign players.

“From that perspective, they significantly contribute towards the standard of the league.

“It wasn’t discussed at last week’s AGM, but our entire membership group are highly supportive of the foreign players.”

Kosta Barbarouses won the PFA’s October honour, beating out Besart Berisha, Andy Keogh, Milos Dimitrijevic, Marcelo Carrusca and Sergio Cirio.

There is no doubt foreign players add to the standard of the A-League, with three of the top four goal scorers this season hailing from abroad.

Last season, 11 of the top 17 goal scorers were foreign, while no Australian player has won the Johnny Warren Medal since Joel Griffiths in 2007-08.

A-League coaches Mike Mulvey and John van ‘t Schip as well as some club owners have been outspoken critics of the FFA’s plan to cut visa spots.