Socials @ Ferrari Pop-Up Showroom Launch @ SPACE store, Fortitude Valley - Matt Smith of Brisbane Roar, Chris Fong of Indonesia and Thomas Broich of Brisbane Roar - Brisbane News -22/10/14 - Stephen Archer
Socials @ Ferrari Pop-Up Showroom Launch @ SPACE store, Fortitude Valley - Matt Smith of Brisbane Roar, Chris Fong of Indonesia and Thomas Broich of Brisbane Roar - Brisbane News -22/10/14 - Stephen Archer

More foreigners needed to ‘improve’ A-League

THE Australian Professional Football Clubs Association has defended its push to increase the number of foreigners in an A-League needing improvement.

With the start of the new season a little more than a month away, several imminent decisions will shape the A-League's future.

APFCA is the umbrella body for clubs, who under a new organisation to include current Football Federation Australia A-League boss Greg O'Rourke, will run an independent national competition with "significant changes".

 

These include increasing the number of visa players permitted at each club from five to six.

"Nothing's been agreed in concrete yet because we're still going through the separation from FFA," APFCA deputy chairman and Brisbane Roar vice-chairman Chris Fong said.

"But we know that we need to reinvigorate our competition and get the metrics back up.

"We want to make the A-League more entertaining, more competitive and more exciting."

APFCA chairman Chris Fong and Perth Glory owner Tony Sage
APFCA chairman Chris Fong and Perth Glory owner Tony Sage

Increasing the amount of foreign players in A-League squads would decrease spots available for Australian talent in a competition that only has 11 teams.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold - who last month lamented the lack of opportunities domestically for young Australians to play professionally - has reportedly met with club owners to express his reservations about increasing the number of visa players in the A-League.

But Fong said APFCA remained committed to giving Australians ample opportunities to play in the A-League and developing club academies.

"Our focus is Australian players … we want Australian players to come up," he said.

"But at the moment we think there is a gap. While we need to increase the metrics, we need to increase the standard of the A-League, and we need to improve our standard overall.

"We've made the decision that we need to increase the visa spots to accommodate the growth in the teams in Australia.

Robbie Fowler revamped Roar squad has a real international flavour.
Robbie Fowler revamped Roar squad has a real international flavour. Matt Taylor GLA220719ROAR

"There needs to be an understanding that we're not just doing it because we want more foreign players, we're doing it to fill a gap while we get up to speed.

"We want more Australians, and we want better Australians, and we're doing that by investing in academies."

Fong wanted clubs to have the chance to make up their own mind about bolstering their foreign contingent.

"At Brisbane Roar, we won't be adding to our five visa players if the change comes through in time for this season," he said.

"It's up to individual clubs."

Fong said Roar owners the Bakrie Group were "spending a fortune" in developing the club's academy and turning it into a "world-class" model.

News Corp Australia

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