New FFA CEO James Johnson has revealed his support for a major change to Australian football to help domestic clubs cash in on football’s global transfer market.
Currently, the international transfer market is valued at over $A11 billion annually, but Australian clubs contribute just $2 million per year towards that figure.
Johnson, the new head of Football Federation Australia, wants Australia to be ‘hardwired’ into that global market – and he’s backing the axing of a long-term ban on domestic transfer fees to make it happen.
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Currently, A-League and grassroots clubs across Australia are banned from paying a transfer fee to another Australian club in order to sign a player.
Foreign clubs can pay transfer fees to sign players from Australian sides, and A-League sides have – on rare occasions – paid fees for international players to move here.
But the embargo on domestic transfer fees has meant that professional and grassroots clubs haven’t been able to profit from developing players and selling them to local rivals.
Johnson, speaking exclusively to the Fox Football Podcast, said “I think this is a problem with the system.
“More players move across borders every year internationally. But if you look at the trends in Australia, we’re probably actually seeing a decline in the number of Australians that are moving across borders every year.
“If you look at the international transfer market which is upwards of $10 billion dollars, we’re generating less than $2 million of that.”
In fact, clubs around the world completed 18,042 international transfers in 2019, the value of which was a record US$7.35 billion ($A11.14 billion). That was a growth of 5.8 per cent on the 2018 total transfer fees.
Australian clubs contributed around $1.9 million to that figure – a minuscule portion of the transfer pie. And Johnson wants to see a domestic market drive Australia’s growth.
“What I would like to see is a domestic transfer system,” he said.
“That will connect your grassroots clubs, your aspiring clubs that fit in between the NPL (National Premier League, the top state level competition) and the A-League, and your A-League clubs.
“You will incentivise the clubs to develop players, and they will be okay with losing players because there will be a distribution that comes down.”