Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today taken a decision to extend the licences of the nine Australian clubs in the Hyundai A-League until 2034.
The current licences of the clubs had an existing term running until 2020.
FFA CEO David Gallop said the licence extension to 2034 would provide the clubs with long-term certainty for their planning and investment.
“FFA and the clubs have made the stability and sustainability of the A-League the top priority,” said Gallop.
“Today’s decision is consistent with our long-term strategy. The extension will give the clubs the certainty they need over a 20-year timeframe to invest, and will also underpin and enhance the value of the licence.
“The Hyundai A-League is enjoying another great season with attendances, TV ratings, digital audiences and membership all increasing. The licence extension is a sign of confidence that the business model is on the right track for long-term success.”
Today’s decision is not applicable to Wellington Phoenix, whose licence term runs until 2016.
The New Zealand club’s participation in the Hyundai A-League beyond 2016 is subject to approval from FIFA, the AFC and FFA. The issue will be addressed in separate discussions with the club.
In relation to the sale of the Western Sydney Wanderers, FFA reaffirms that no final decision has been made and that discussions are continuing with prospective buyers.
In other matters, FFA today confirmed that each Hyundai A-League club will have a limit of five (5) visa players for next season, 2014/15. In the following season 2015/16 the limit will be reduced to four (4) visa players.
A feasibility study will be conducted for possible future implementation of a “3 + 1” model, under which one visa player is Asian.
“The foreign visa players bring so much to the Hyundai A-League in terms of technical ability and marketing interest, but we must also nurture our young Australian players,” said Gallop.
“We have taken a prudent step to reduce the visa limit over a number of years to create more opportunities for local, elite youth players, while acknowledging that the visa players have an important role as we continue to build the competition.
“The idea of a ‘3 + 1’ model being introduced at some stage is aimed at strengthening our links to Asia, where football is undergoing a boom on the technical, professional and business levels.
“This model would align our competition with the AFC Champions League and assist clubs in setting up their player rosters.
“Overall, we view the adjustments in the visa player limits as another step in our strategic plan for the A-League.”