The end of the 2019-20 season marks another unsuccessful A-League campaign for the Western Sydney Wanderers.
As the FFA released its blueprint for the future of Australian football, chief executive James Johnson highlighted an opportunity to revamp youth development and create a rock-solid domestic transfer system.
The FFA released its XI Principles for the Future of Australian Football discussion paper on Thursday, which focuses on underpinning the sport’s growth and development.
The principles, developed after consultation with stakeholders, include building Australian football’s identity, youth development, driving participation and optimising the A-League and W-League.
There is currently no domestic transfer system in the A-League, only a restricted loan system for young players and Johnson said now was the right time to fall in line with FIFA’s reformed transfer system.
“There are areas of the (FIFA) transfer system that would allow us to sit down with clubs, players and talk about how those flexible FIFA principles could be implemented in Australia in a way that addresses our local needs,” Johnson told reporters on Thursday.
“We need to put in a framework and we need to go through a consultation process around what a transfer system is and what the opportunities are.
“We haven’t done the numbers but there would be millions of dollars that have been lost to the game simply because we don’t understand how the system works,” Johnson said.
“There’s been players moving overseas and transfer fees and training compensation fees not coming back in.”
A reformed transfer system would also incentivise clubs to sign and develop young players, with the potential to sell players to their domestic rivals, along with international suitors.
The document also confirmed the 2020-21 A-League season will coincide with the winter grassroots season and be played from December to July.
It also touched on future plans for a second tier, with a focus on promoting “competitive balance and tension” throughout competitions.
Johnson said it was important to look beyond simple promotion and relegation, citing Japan’s J.League and Mexico’s Liga MX as examples of alternative competition structure models.
“I don’t think it’s a case of only having a licensing system or promotion-relegation system,” he said.
“I think what’s important is you need to create recognition for clubs in the pyramid if they perform well on and off the pitch.
“That could be creating some kind of criteria in an expansion process that focuses on the sporting achievements.”
The FFA will release several online surveys from Monday so the football community can provide feedback on the discussion paper.