"...this could not happen at a better time for the A-League..."
The world economic downturn has dented the financial power of much of European Football, and whilst the A-League may never be able to compete with Europe's elite leagues Australia's strong economy and dollar mean that it is ready to benefit from the global turmoil.
With Greece on the brink of yet another bailout and Italy desperately trying to avoid collapse the Euro zone is indeed in its most dire state and the implications for football are a major concern.
Many will point to the busy summer of both Manchester clubs and Barcelona in the transfer market as evidence of the strong financial position of clubs.
However, this neglects the reality of many clubs.
In Spain players were owed in excess of $67 million in unpaid wages in the country's top two divisions and in Scotland, the demise of the SPL's spending power was illustrated by Rangers inability to attract the top quality stars they have been so desperately seeking.
In England's lower leagues clubs such as Plymouth Argyle and Wrexham were both unable to pay player's wages in the off-season, with Plymouth still mired in administration.
Much of this has been the result of financial mismanagement but with less money available it is likely that even the most financially sensible clubs will come under increased pressure as new economic realities take hold.
Whilst this represents a real concern for much of European Football, this has the potential to assist the A-League in attracting the best possible foreigners, holding on to talented young players for longer and getting home-grown stars returning earlier to the competition.
In contrast to the European economy Australia has managed to avoid much of the global financial crisis and has continued to grow with the dollar becoming increasingly strong against the Euro and the Pound.
It would be difficult to argue that this played a major factor in the return of current Socceroos' Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton but there is no doubt it would have been of benefit to both.
The effect a strong economy can have on a domestic league has been well demonstrated in Brazil.
In the last few years Brazil has managed to attract its star players such as Ronaldinho, Deco and Roberto Carlos back from Europe at a much younger age then previously possible.
Perhaps more importantly they have been able to hang on to their young stars such as Neymar and Ganso for much longer then would have been possible before as the financial gulf between Europe and Brazil has been reduced.
This is not to suggest that the most talented young players will see out their careers in Brazil, they will head to Europe but they are no longer in such a rush, and in all likelihood will return home at a younger age.
This has had a huge benefit to the standard of the Brazilian competition, and with the current TV deal about to expire it is likely to deliver more revenue for football when a new deal is negotiated.
Australia has the ability to take advantage of its strong economy for the benefit of its domestic competition just as Brazil has done, and is perhaps already doing so.
Outside of the marquee signings of Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton there have been many impressive additions in the off-season.
Dario Vidosic has returned to the A-League with his peak years still to come, former Manchester United man Liam Miller left one the SPL's bigger clubs, Hibernian, to join Perth and Brazilian Tiago Calvano moved from German club Fortuna Dusseldorf to the Jets.
With the financial forecasts for Europe looking bleak for the next few years there are bound to more quality players seeking to move away from Europe to competitions such as the A-League.
This could not happen at a better time for the competition.
The current TV deal with Fox Sports expires 2013 and with stars such as Kewell playing in the A-League the FFA is in a strong position to negotiate for an improved deal.
As well as adding more revenue through a new television deal clubs will more than likely benefit from an increase in crowds due to the playing standard continuing to rise.
If this was to happen the league would more than likely be granted an extra Asian Champions League spot for the 2013 competition as attendances and finances play a role in the allocation of places.
With three clubs rather than two having the added drawcard of Champions League football the pull of the A-League would only be increased.
Whilst the strength of the Australian economy no doubt has the potential to have a positive impact on the A-League it is not say that the brightest prospects will no longer move to Europe.
Most will still wish to test themselves in the world's most demanding leagues, which will continue to be in Europe.
However, if the A-League can keep hold of them for longer, lure them back earlier and attract the best possible foreigners, the competition will have seized its moment to take advantage of Europe's economic woes and will be stronger for it.
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