The FFA's Head of Leagues Greg O'Rourke revealed he still aims to bring in the expanded bench regulations – up from five to seven – before the season starts on Friday.

If clubs can agree in time, it will be the first step on a programme of increasing playing opportunities ahead of a change to the current five visa spots.

Bosses hope that by adding extra bench spots, it will allow coaches more flexibility in selecting young and upcoming local talent while still starting more experienced, potentially foreign, stars.


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But the clock is ticking to get the changes in place before Friday night's opener.

"The extra bench spots is still possible for this season, even though it starts in three days" he told FTBL at this morning's A-League launch in Sydney.

"Extra visa spots is not currently being reviewed so that would be one of those things further down the track."

He also confirmed the arrival of the additional VAR Hawkeye technology to the A-League, after he personally wanted to see its introduction.

"I don't want to wake up after another Grand Final and an incorrect call as the NRL just did," he said. "We just need to use technology to support you where we can.

"Fans are unforgiving on errors."

He added: "We'll continue to invest to get where technology helps us get the right outcome as many times as possible, but still have humans involved."

The FFA are also keen to be able to broadcast direct communications from the referees and his assistants, including in the VAR room, to better let fans know what is happening.

But they are currently blocked by FIFA and IFAB (football's lawmakers), although talks are continuing.

"By the end of the season we would like to have the situation where the referees can communicate to the broadcast audience like they do in NRL and rugby," said O'Rourke.

"We're working with FIFA and IFAB on that, so there are innovations for this season."

The big focus for the A-League this year though will be recovering its audience both at stadiums and in front of screens.