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Why don't we have transfer fees in football in Australia?

Jake Ghalloub new author
Roar Rookie
7th March, 2017
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Besart Berisha celebrates a goal for Melbourne. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)
Jake Ghalloub new author
Roar Rookie
7th March, 2017
58
1620 Reads

Paul Pogba for 89 million pounds. Andy Carroll for 35 million pounds. Zlatan Ibrahimovic? Zero.

The explanations of transfer fees in the world of football can often be blurred, and occasionally, outright baffling.

Marketability and third-party ownership are both two measures that dictate a price, and god forbid you’re English. No matter how perplexing it can be, it is rooted in as one of football’s key workings in the professional and semi professional world – except in Australia.

We see countless times in the A-League, players ‘mutually terminating’ their contracts to play for other clubs who have not done a single thing for them. Ridiculous right? Their previous club gets zero reward for putting countless hours of time into a player and churning them out to a different club. This is one of Australia’s biggest shortcomings in producing a successful footballing market.

The main argument against transfer fees is that the wealthy clubs such as Sydney FC, Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory will be able to hoard talent as is the way in Europe at teams such as Chelsea. Although this is partially correct, the introduction for transfer fees is a completely valid strategy to boosting football from the grassroots up, especially in the National Premier League.

Say there is an introduction of transfer fees in the A-League, and an increase on the $7,000 maximum fee in the NPL, there are a few key improvements in the game. Listed below are the main positives.

1.Reduction of fees for grassroots and elite-youth football
A large issue with elite-youth football and grassroots football is that is funded from the bottom to the top. However with transfer fees, this could be completely flipped. If a club receives two $300,000 fees a year, that covers 400 kids’ registration fees if you use the $1500 figure that Adam Peacock stated he pays for his son – and even more kids if the fee is lower.

Not only does this help the current players to stay in the game, but it will encourage more parents to allow their kids to play representative levels where they are instead wasting their talents in the local association teams or moving codes.

2. Investment back into the club staffing
Working in football in a non-playing capacity in Australia isn’t a viable option financially unless you are involved with the FFA and some private academies. The outlook for coaches looking to work in clubs is significantly less bright. Coaching SAP level can bring in less than $2000 per season for some clubs.

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Paying more money is going to promote the positions to more people to chase it full time, thus leading to a higher quality being produced.

3. Investment in facilities
It is safe to say some of the facilities for all clubs in Australia are dire. Some are lucky enough to have artificial turf on their grounds thanks to the government, however the vast majority are at a level of amateurism.

Practically all the clubs in the A-League don’t even have their own training grounds, so money from transfers are a boost that these clubs can use into producing better training spaces for their players to improve in the best capacity possible.

Although I have only reached the surface on the positives on transfer fees, the salary cap is another financial restraint which won’t allow players to transfer for a monetary value between clubs in the A-League and NPL. This makes the implementation of transfer fees an issue that isn’t easily introduced quickly, but something that must be considered in the near future when the FFA announce their restructured ownership models for A-League clubs.