A-League salary cap changes highlight faults in policing finances

Janek Speight Columnist

By Janek Speight, Janek Speight is a Roar Expert

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    While the FFA’s changes to the A-League salary cap provide promise moving forward, particularly the marquee, loyalty and mature-age allowances, questions still remain over the cap’s effectiveness.

    At its most basic level the salary cap is designed to ensure an equal competition and save clubs from financial ruin. That is fair enough, but neither has been achieved.

    And when changes to the cap move more towards benefiting the larger clubs and leaving the smaller clubs behind, the system’s effectiveness lessens.

    For all the FFA’s work in creating a level playing field it has had little influence. Only the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners have been able to break the ruling party of Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar. Their fleeting success can not be directly linked to the implementation of a salary cap, but rather good management and recruitment.

    Even with wage restrictions the bigger clubs in bigger cities remain more likely to be successful. That is not a bad thing, it is just football. Worldwide there are big and small clubs and seeing minnows perform above their calling is part of the sport’s beauty.

    This is not a call to scrap the cap, exactly, but rather to create discussion about its benefits and faults.

    The new changes to the A-League salary cap, despite who they benefit, are thankfully mostly positive.

    The loosening of marquee restrictions, allowing two foreign marquees instead of enforcing at least one Australian marquee, makes perfect sense. Not only have clubs been unable to convince top class Australians to finish their careers at home, but they have also had their hands tied when retaining a winning formula.

    Melbourne Victory’s recent dilemma fitting Fahid Ben Khalfallah, who rightly demanded a pay rise after a stellar debut campaign, and Archie Thompson, a club stalwart who also warranted another season in the A-League, will now be avoided.

    Victory managed to find a solution without the cap changes but Brisbane Roar were not so lucky at the end of the 2013-14 campaign. With Thomas Broich taking up the sole foreign marquee spot the Roar were forced to let go of Besart Berisha, for free.

    Yet this change only really assists the bigger clubs with the bulging bank balances. Not many A-League teams are able to afford one marquee, let alone two, and this initiative, while necessary, is not a win for the minnows. The Mariners have never had an international marquee.

    Financial sustainability is the major argument put forth for maintaining the cap. Though the FFA would better serve football’s growth by identifying and attracting responsible owners – something they have failed to do with Clive Palmer, Nathan Tinkler and most recently the Bakrie Group.

    Implementing a cap but failing to ensure franchise licenses are handed out to appropriate owners defeats the aim of financial sustainability.

    Perth Glory’s rise to A-League premiers and possible champions would have been a fantastic boost for football. Adding another club to the winners’ list could have propelled Western Australian football back to previous heady heights.

    Yet the salary cap only prevented a new champion from emerging. This is not a defence of Perth’s mismanagement, rules are rules, but without a cap we could have another club capable of challenging the status quo. Adelaide United and Wellington Phoenix have shown how to do it within the cap restraints, of course, but letting a club spend big to compete is not necessarily a bad system.

    The increase of the cap floor – with clubs now required to spend a minimum 90 per cent of their wage allocation instead of 85 per cent – is one pitfall from the new changes. It does not really make sense if the FFA are intent on assisting clubs break even.

    If a smaller club like the Mariners wants to save money through wages then why not let them? The club struggles to attract corporate sponsorship and investment, and likely also faces a battle to attract top stars. Forcing them to overpay average players just to appease the salary cap floor seems counterproductive.

    Giving smaller clubs the opportunity to save cash when investment is low and spend more when investment is high makes more sense. The introduction of banking goes some way to giving clubs more flexibility, but probably not enough. The placement of a floor is required to ensure clubs remain competitive and do not tank seasons, but 90 per cent is unnecessarily high.

    The loyalty player and mature-age allowances, however, are fantastic additions from the FFA. The A-League has to continue to strengthen its ties with the National Premier Leagues and giving clubs incentive to recruit from the second tier of Australian football had to happen.

    This will also shift even more attention and relevance towards the FFA Cup, with NPL players pushed further into the shop window while competing in the tournament.

    Similarly, introducing an extra $200,000 to reward loyal players, such as Thompson, will assist clubs maintaining team culture.

    But do these salary cap changes further help turn the A-League into an equal playing field and prevent clubs from heading into the red? Based on the winners’ lists and the history of failed ownerships the answer is an emphatic no.

    Ditching the cap may not be an immediate option but it has to happen eventually, especially if the big A-League clubs are to increase their overall competitiveness in Asia.

    The FFA’s changes are mainly positive, though they will not bring about a more even competition. Forcing clubs to spend, as well as limiting their spending, is not the long-term solution.

    Follow Janek on Twitter, @JanekSpeight

    Janek Speight
    Janek Speight

    Janek is a freelance journalist based in Berlin. You can follow him on Twitter, @JanekSpeight

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    The Crowd Says (50)

    • August 13th 2015 @ 10:42am
      nordster said | August 13th 2015 @ 10:42am | ! Report

      good stuff Janek….the ffa are caught in the classic *mixed economy* dilemma…

      they want the flexibility and ambition in a freer, no cap system ….but the attempt at an even playing field on the other….

      at some point they make a choice….double down on equalisation and do it properly….or go in a different (for straya) but familiar (for football) direction….

      in a sport like football, the open playing field beats out the even one on balance imo….

      • Roar Guru

        August 13th 2015 @ 11:37am
        Kaks said | August 13th 2015 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        It seems like the FFA are angling for the free market, however – and quite rightly – they understand that it might not be the time to let all the clubs off the leash.

        • August 13th 2015 @ 11:53am
          nordster said | August 13th 2015 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          Does seem like the long range plan, which is maybe why someone white anted equalisation with the marquee players from the get go.

          As for the leash, it may end up choking a few who can’t grow as big as the others. The mastiff Victory dragging along the yap dog Mariners….

          • Roar Guru

            August 13th 2015 @ 12:18pm
            Kaks said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

            Yes it is choking the Victory, however with a new competition and new teams it is a better idea to have an even playing field where clubs try to engrave their team in the community before letting teams like Victory/SydneyFC possibly dominate and put off a lot of fans at fringe clubs. I bet the Victory want some dogs to play with freely.

            • August 13th 2015 @ 12:20pm
              nordster said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              Even if there are substantially less fans at the fringe clubs, and always will be? I think they risk turning off the momentum of clubs that could one day be among the giants of world football. Wont happen with a level playing field imo.

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2015 @ 12:23pm
                Kaks said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

                I honestly believe the Central Coast is a sleeping giant, it needs something to wake it up. Just leaving them behind is not the answer.

              • August 13th 2015 @ 12:47pm
                nordster said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

                I may contend that the ‘open playing field’ of a multi tier league with npl level barriers to entry, would result in more Central Coasts emerging than a closed level playing field. 🙂

                I dont see it as leaving them behind. If anything it strengthens them on a sustainability front. Their chairman seems to get it. As well as the potential mega clubs and the crowds they can draw at smaller grounds. Not just in Gosford, but potentially elsewhere.

          • Roar Guru

            August 13th 2015 @ 12:42pm
            Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:42pm | ! Report

            Interesting to note, a midweek match in Gosford saw CCM attract the 3rd biggest crowd that we’ve seen in the FFA Cup’s short history.

            And, who was CCM’s opposition when they drew this big crowd on Tuesday? A team representing another country that regularly attracts the smallest crowds when they play in Australia.

            So, CCM has managed to attract a bigger FFA Cup home crowd than we’ve seen from SydFC, WSW, Perth Glory, MelbCity, Jets.

            Only the FFA Cup Final last season, and the SydUtd vs SydFC derby have so far attracted bigger FFA Cup crowds than CCM did last Tuesday in Gosford.

            Of course, if you’re not interested in researching evidence & only rely on thought-bubbles, this bit of information would be of no relevance.

            • August 13th 2015 @ 12:52pm
              nordster said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

              CCM have a good support base of up to 5k who have been attending mid week ACL games for years. Not sure it counts as a ‘big crowd’ but it is an excellent turnup in continuing that trend.

              I know i used to go to them. Research i guess….;)

            • August 13th 2015 @ 1:59pm
              CG2430 said | August 13th 2015 @ 1:59pm | ! Report

              And if we get decent crowds regularly then that will be something to crow about – but I fear that FFA Cup crowd will be a one-off (and it was the first professional football on the Coast since April – lot of pent-up demand there).

            • August 13th 2015 @ 2:58pm
              oly09 said | August 13th 2015 @ 2:58pm | ! Report

              Not sure if a crowd of 6000 can be used as evidence of CCM having a strong fanbase.
              For a start the FFA Cup is less than two years old with the majority of games played at the home grounds of State League sides.

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2015 @ 3:11pm
                Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 3:11pm | ! Report

                SydneyFC played an FFA Cup Quarter Final in 2014 at Allianz Stadium, which is SydFC’s home ground.

                The opponents were from the ALeague: AUFC.

                The crowd was 3,536.

                On the same night in another Quarter Final, Perth Glory played at NIB Stadium, which is Perth’s home ground.

                The opponents were from the ALeague: Melbourne Victory..

                Attendance: 3,899

                I think CCM’s crowd on Tuesday night was fantastic for a 2yr old competition against opponents from NZL.

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2015 @ 3:28pm
                Kaks said | August 13th 2015 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                I’d hate to admit it, but I agree with Fuss here. The numbers back it up as well

              • August 13th 2015 @ 4:32pm
                oly09 said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

                No one is disputing the fact it’s the third highest crowd in the FFA Cup.
                I just think that CCM’s A-League crowds are a better indication of their fanbase than a one-off FFA Cup game.
                Thanks for the figures though.

    • Roar Guru

      August 13th 2015 @ 11:54am
      Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 11:54am | ! Report

      “Only the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners have been able to break the ruling party of Melbourne Victory, Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar”

      That’s a bit selective, Janek.

      AUFC: Won Premiers Plate in Yr1. Runners’ up in HAL Championship twice. FFA Cup winners
      WSW: HAL Premiers, twice runners’ up HAL Championship, Champions of Asia
      Perth: Runners up HAL Championship, Runners’ up FFA Cup

      So, in 10 years, 8 clubs out of 10 have tasted success; or come close to tasting success. Can’t imagine any league in the world that’s had such variety.

      Only NIX & MelbCity have yet to have any meaningful tilt at the trophies. NIX came close last season to winning the Premiership, when they went Top with 5 matches to play.

      In any discussion about the future of the ALeague, I’m willing to back the FFA who have access to all the relevant information about club finances, sponsorship, TV money, etc.

      The rest of us are just guessing blindly when we discuss potential strategies for the Aleague’s future.

      • August 13th 2015 @ 12:18pm
        nordster said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

        “So, in 10 years, 8 clubs out of 10 have tasted success; or come close to tasting success. Can’t imagine any league in the world that’s had such variety.”

        Well if you include all competitions ….Cup, League Cup/Finals, league title ….having eight teams out of sixteen or twenty over a decade would be fairly common.

        Of course the Hal has ten at this point. And will continue to for some time with the even playing field approach. I guess in other leagues that are multi tier, you have more space for smaller development clubs.

        So maybe as a proportion of a larger total, less teams overseas get to taste silverware. But in the hal its a smaller league which makes it seem more level than it is.

        As the years of the hal go on, the larger clubs like Victory are coming to the for. Which is exactly what u would hope the league would deliver. Going forward, they need to be unshackled to really find their potential.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2015 @ 12:25pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:25pm | ! Report

          “Well if you include all competitions ….Cup, League Cup/Finals, league title ….having eight teams out of sixteen or twenty over a decade would be fairly common.”

          Really?

          You’re saying that if we analysed football in Spain, Germany, England, Italy, etc. you reckon we’d have 80% of the teams in the Top professional league winning a trophy, or being runner up?

          Fair enough. If your thought-bubble says it’s true, it’s a fact.

          I know you’re talking nonsense.

          • August 13th 2015 @ 12:58pm
            nordster said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

            Nonsense indeed….i never said as a percentage. The whole point of the post is that in actual numbers a similar amount will taste success.

            Eight teams is eight teams whether out of ten or sixteen/twenty. The percentage is only relevant to the extent to which u are locking out those extra half dozen or more teams that would be development battlers in a multi tier league. And not anywhere near silverware.

            For a dude who sounds smarter than me, u make a whole lot LESS sense sometimes and fail to even read a post correctly. Fairly common around here by the sounds….ho hum….

          • August 13th 2015 @ 3:06pm
            oly09 said | August 13th 2015 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

            Well actually…if you look at the FA Cup, League Cup and Premiership for the past 10 years the following clubs have either won, made the final or finished second in the league.

            Chelsea, Man U, Man C, Liverpool, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Hull, Wigan, Stoke, Portmouth, Cardiff, Everton, Tottenham, Sunderland, Swansea, Bradford, Birmingham City.

            So 17 clubs, of which 11 are in the premiership this season.

            • August 13th 2015 @ 3:19pm
              Steve said | August 13th 2015 @ 3:19pm | ! Report

              Boom! Even Spain has had 10 different Cup champions in the past 14 years!

      • August 13th 2015 @ 12:39pm
        Arnold Krewanty said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

        Premiers Plate pfftt. Who cares! The comment is about who wins aka who are the champions that won the GF.

        ON another note, WSW Asian Champions win was simply amazing considering the salary cap compared to $$ spent by Asian clubs.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2015 @ 12:47pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

          “Premiers Plate pfftt. Who cares! ”

          Only people from the football community, who understand the difference between being the best team over 27 matches & the best team over 3 knock-out matches that may include penalty shootouts to decide the winner.

          • August 13th 2015 @ 1:01pm
            Arnold Krewanty said | August 13th 2015 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

            Fussball I know what you are saying, but generally speaking, coming first doesn’t mean much to the general football fan here!

            Only the fans of those clubs who come first at the end of the season remember this fact. Everyone else generally remember who won what GF in X year.

            Coming first has only recently become an interest because the AFC mandate that it enters a club into the Champions League.

            • Roar Guru

              August 13th 2015 @ 1:11pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

              Fair enough.

              We must mix in different football circles.

              I don’t know any football fan, nor any player when I was involved at State League level, who does not consider the Top of the Table to be the No.1 prize every year.

              I played football at senior level for nearly 10 years. Never did any of the competitions have a Grand Final.

              • August 13th 2015 @ 1:23pm
                AR said | August 13th 2015 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

                “I don’t know any football fan, nor any player when I was involved at State League level, who does not consider the Top of the Table to be the No.1 prize every year.”

                Try Ange Postecoglou.

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2015 @ 2:21pm
                Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                “Try Ange Postecoglou”

                Yeah. And if Ange’s teams had failed at the knock-out Cup comp but won the title he’d change his mind.

                I admire Ange hugely, but self-interest requires him to say the trophies his teams won are more valuable.

              • August 13th 2015 @ 4:30pm
                Stevo said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

                Fuss, I don’t know where you have played football, but my son has played since he was 5 years old, and now 20. Every year he has played there were always grand Finals, even now in the Senior team he plays in. Always been Grand Finals. For example at the club end of season awards, his teams have always been presented as Premiers and Grand Final winners, or Premiers and Grand Final Runners up, or 2nd place and Grand Final winners etc. As Coach for a number of seasons through Under 13’s to Youth teams, I received medals for both as well.

              • August 13th 2015 @ 4:33pm
                AR said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

                “I admire Ange hugely, but self-interest requires him to say the trophies his teams won are more valuable.”

                So Ange Postecoglou is lying to protect his record? Seriously?

              • August 14th 2015 @ 7:38am
                The artist formerly known as Punter said | August 14th 2015 @ 7:38am | ! Report

                Stevo,

                My daughter’s team won the GF last in her women’s div 5 competition, they stayed in Div 5 this year. The premiers went up.
                This year they have won the premiership & about to hit the semis & GF, irrespective of how they go in the semis & GF, they will go up to Div 4 next year.

                This is what Fuss is trying to say.

              • Roar Guru

                August 14th 2015 @ 8:09am
                Fussball ist unser leben said | August 14th 2015 @ 8:09am | ! Report

                @Stevo

                “Fuss, I don’t know where you have played football”

                I played State League senior football in Victoria in the 1980s.

                Never – not even once was there are Grand Final in the leagues I played. Just the standard league system with Home & Away competition. There was also a Cup Competition, but it was mid-week and with University & work commitments I can’t recall playing in the knock-out cup.

                I’m almost certain the NPL (Victoria) doesn’t have any finals. Also, pretty certain the teams that finish top of the table in NPL1 (East) & NPL1 (West) get automatic promotion to NPL; the teams that finish 2nd on the table will have a play-off to determine the 2nd team to be promoted to NPL.

          • August 13th 2015 @ 3:20pm
            Steve said | August 13th 2015 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

            Meh – uneven league anyway (in terms of the number of games home and away each team plays each other). Anything less than a 3 point margin of victory as Premiers Plate could be attributed to the unequal fixtures, rather than being better of 27 rounds.

            • Roar Guru

              August 13th 2015 @ 3:53pm
              Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 3:53pm | ! Report

              “Anything less than a 3 point margin of victory as Premiers Plate could be attributed to the unequal fixtures, rather than being better of 27 rounds.”

              2014/15 season SydFC won a total of 50 points from 27 matches.
              Home: 16 points
              Away: 34 points

              Maybe SydFC got an extra 3 points by playing an extra match away from home?

              • August 13th 2015 @ 4:35pm
                oly09 said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

                But the fact teams don’t play each other an even amount of times does mean it could never fairly be determined on the league table alone.
                An English mate of mine was stocked we played each other three times. Does give a massive advantage if the teams you play away twice are having poor seasons.

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2015 @ 5:00pm
                Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

                “An English mate of mine was stocked we played each other three times.”

                Your English mate should cast his eye north of the border.

                The Scottish Premier League also plays a league system involving teams playing each other 3 times – some teams play 17 home matches; some play 16 home matches.

                Then the league splits into Top 6 & Bottom 6.

                To decide the Champions of Scotland the Top 6 teams play each other ONCE, for a total of 38 matches for the season. I’ve no idea how they decide who plays 3 home matches & who plays 2 home matches during this 2nd phase.

                So, what’s occurring in the ALeague is not totally alien to the football community.

        • August 13th 2015 @ 2:01pm
          CG2430 said | August 13th 2015 @ 2:01pm | ! Report

          The Grand Final can be fluked on the day. It takes real superiority to outclass all others over the course of a whole season.

          FWIW, I don’t even watch finals.

      • August 13th 2015 @ 4:18pm
        AZ_RBB said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

        What must be remembered in this whole debate is the fact that we don’t have a true home and away season, therefore the legitimacy of the Premiership is somewhat tainted. At least compared to the straight H&A we see in other leagues around the world. I still rate Premiership over Championship but both have their place due to the regular season system.

        • Roar Guru

          August 13th 2015 @ 4:25pm
          Fussball ist unser leben said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

          So, the first 27 matches played home & away under normal 90 minute match conditions is tainted …

          But, a 3 match knock-out competition featuring 6 out of 10 teams & played over potentially 120 minutes with penalties is legitimate way to create a Champion team?

          • August 13th 2015 @ 4:31pm
            AZ_RBB said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

            You almost got it.

            Allow me to simplify. In order of legitimacy in accordance with the Laws of the Game 2012 (West Sydney Amendment)

            1. Straight H&A season.
            2. ALeague H&A season
            3. ALeague Finals series.

            All legitimate. Just some more than others.

    • August 13th 2015 @ 11:55am
      Owen said | August 13th 2015 @ 11:55am | ! Report

      “Not many A-League teams are able to afford one marquee, let alone two” – Umm, don’t 7 out of the 10 current clubs have marquee players?

    • August 13th 2015 @ 1:08pm
      NUFCMVFC said | August 13th 2015 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

      It’s kind of the point that there is general equalisation via the cap, but bigger clubs from urban areas are rightly able to gain comparative advantage via the marquee spots, but not too much along the ridiculous lines of EPL and La Liga with the big few clubs in those leages

    • August 13th 2015 @ 1:56pm
      CG2430 said | August 13th 2015 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

      “The increase of the cap floor – with clubs now required to spend a minimum 90 per cent of their wage allocation instead of 85 per cent – is one pitfall from the new changes. It does not really make sense if the FFA are intent on assisting clubs break even.
      “If a smaller club like the Mariners wants to save money through wages then why not let them? The club struggles to attract corporate sponsorship and investment, and likely also faces a battle to attract top stars. Forcing them to overpay average players just to appease the salary cap floor seems counterproductive.”

      Could not agree more.

      • August 13th 2015 @ 4:35pm
        marcel said | August 13th 2015 @ 4:35pm | ! Report

        My understanding is that the salary cap is 100% funded by the FFA…

        • August 14th 2015 @ 7:58am
          CG2430 said | August 14th 2015 @ 7:58am | ! Report

          It matters not. Central Coast cannot tap other lucrative revenue streams like the big clubs can; money they could save on wages means the remainders from the TV dividend could be spent on other expenses – the clubs have to pay for more than just the players.

      • August 17th 2015 @ 10:33am
        Domitian said | August 17th 2015 @ 10:33am | ! Report

        Despite the criticism that Clive Palmer gets I actually thought that he, as an owner, had some good ideas. As he saw it, it was a business model that insured financial loss for smaller teams. I believe his idea was that he could invest in junior development which, following the minimum wage rules, could see a salary bill of little more than $1 million dollars. He could then use the savings to invest in the clubs own infrastructure and player development.

        If the junior development was good enough then there is no reason that the team couldn’t play well and have a dedicated following.

    • August 13th 2015 @ 2:38pm
      RBBAnonymous said | August 13th 2015 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

      What is the FFA trying to achieve with the salary cap?

      Its an important question, it would be interesting to see what the answer this.
      Are they trying to create an environment where the league is equalized or a sustainable model for owners and players alike.

      If we are talking about equalization then I am not sure we have a proper sized sample size to really say if this has been effective. You have to bear in mind that the salary cap has changed a fair bit over the years especially since the A-leagues started. I would say most owners are more than happy to operate in this environment because it restricts a major operating cost for clubs, but, does it restrict growth. Would we grow the league faster with clubs spending more and increasing their revenues through a better player. Are clubs able to work out what is the best strategy for them to survive and thrive in the A-league.

      From where I stand the most important factor in running a club is your management and having responsible owners. This is irrespective of whether or not we have a salary cap or not. This is because we currently have clubs who are operating well out of their constraints. We are in a salary capped league which is supposed to provide a framework for clubs to operate responsibly and yet we still have clubs who don’t. We shouldn’t be having clubs making huge losses, not now, wages growth has been non-existent for the last 4-5 years. Why are clubs not paying players when the salary cap is supposed to cover this major expense for clubs.

      My preference is to do away with the salary cap and allow for all teams to operate at what is sustainable for them as a club. This would obviously mean that big clubs like Melbourne Victory would naturally get the best Australian players in the A-league and would obviously mean being able to get excellent foreign players into their line up. Does it mean they will naturally win the A-league, it might, it might not. There are no guarantees. If you are a smaller club and you have a better recruitment policy then you might succeed as well. I would imagine that big clubs if they are able to operate outside the salary cap would be able to attract some amazing talent to Australia. Can you imagine the buzz going to the grounds and seeing players like Fahid Ben Kalfallah filling up most of your foreign roster spots.

      Obviously that is the upside, the downside is for the smaller clubs, who now need to operate in an environment where they get the second pick of players. Its not such a big thing, having this siege mentality for your club, trying to knock off the big boys. At least the upside for these teams is that when the big clubs come to your ground there should be more people coming to the games. Will they be able to win the league, maybe, more likely no, but its still not impossible, especially since the A-league is still in its early development. If you have good recruitment, good coaches and development and sound management then you are always a chance of winning. There is more than one way to win than just buying the best players.

      Having said all that with all the changes that have been made are we really operating in a salary capped league as it is. Even the Marquee rule that is in place we have the ridiculous situation where one player alone can cost you more than your entire squad under the salary cap. Seems a bit strange to me. My view is that the owners should be thankful we are operating in a salary capped league because without it they would be spending a lot more on players than they currently are, without it the possibilities of where our league could get to are endless, while with a salary capped league the possibilities ultimately have a limit. It all depends on what you want the league to be.

      • August 13th 2015 @ 3:35pm
        Brendo said | August 13th 2015 @ 3:35pm | ! Report

        Its a good question.

        “Set $$$” Caps are designed to equalize. If every club can only spend the same amount of money on players then in theory it comes down to clubs who can get the most out of their players (as on balance all club’s squad would be equal). However the problem with a set $$$ cap is that is has to be set at the lower end of the scale or it will quickly drive the poorer clubs to the wall. As the poorer clubs will be paying a higher percentage of total revenue in player wages. Even then the richer clubs will end up with a surplus of money which they will use to tip the balance in their favor (ie better traning facilities, better coaches). The AFL is a good example of a set $$ cap and the problems it generates. ie Constant top ups to poorer club, initiatives to divert revenue to poorer clubs, capping club spending in other areas.

        Of course the A-league isn’t a pure Set $$ cap as it also allows two players to be paid outside the cap. They in effect want their cake and eat it too as the Marquee system erodes the equalization measure and allows clubs that can allow it to use the extra cash on players.

        Although the set $$ cap does enforce some financial responsibility it is not the best style of cap system for this.

        If Financial responsibility was really the aim of the cap then we would see the value of the cap tied to the club’s total revenue. ie If Melbourne Victory had revenue of $14M in the 2014/15season, therefore there cap is 30% of that figure $4.2M. CMM had revenue of $8M therefore there cap is $2.4M. As you can see this type of cap in not a equalization cap but ensures that clubs do not overspend trying to out compete the richer clubs. Of course this type of cap favors the richer clubs even more than the set $$ cap and there is a perception problem with this type of cap (CMM fans would feel the league is screwing them over) but the truth is this type of cap would be much better for the stability of the league than the one we have currently.

        • August 14th 2015 @ 9:47am
          Post hoc said | August 14th 2015 @ 9:47am | ! Report

          The issue for that is, “what is revenue?” Melbourne City “owned by CFG, who in turn is owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, ok Emirates can you front up $30 million as front of shirt sponsor (purposefully ridiculous amount to illustrate) so that $30 million is now revenue for the club so playing roster under that system is at least $10 million.

          I am not against the idea, a soft cap like that might just be a better model. I think as mentioned earlier, the FFA appear to be tinkering so as to slowly reduce the restrictiveness of the cap, but we are only 10 years old, a little bit of patience is needed, I would say in 3-5 years time you will see maybe a third marquee, which would result in a 20% of a match day squad (11+4) being outside the cap.

      • August 13th 2015 @ 5:41pm
        Midfielder said | August 13th 2015 @ 5:41pm | ! Report

        RBB

        Good points especially about the club management.

        My reading of the tea leafs is some folk are getting ahead of themselves we are still in a very fragile place with the possibility it could all still fall over.

        Recent actions by the PFA, some commentators assume or act like we are in a well funded long established competition… Further many commentators believe they have more smarts or a better model that the current FFA management.

        For me what FFA are doing and the structure they have in place is right for the time and environment we are in today… the model will change over time when revenue and longevity allow more risks and changes to be made.

        For me I always believed at around the 15 year point we can make some changes and around the 20 year point major changes can occur if needed…

        If I was asked what is the single biggest issue today I would say many in Football are over estimating our position … we still need to tread carefully to grow the game …

        • August 14th 2015 @ 9:48am
          Post hoc said | August 14th 2015 @ 9:48am | ! Report

          agree 100%

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