Major changes are vital to revitalise the stuttering A-League, says Melbourne City captain Scott Jamieson
The Sydney Morning Herald recently revealed A-League clubs and the PFA were negotiating a proposal for all 12 sides to effectively field five marquees per team by exempting foreign players from the salary cap.
With the current limit set at two – and clubs having to include their cost-of-living expenses help within the cap – the proposed new rules aim to let clubs attract a higher calibre of player.
Club power brokers believe the move will increase both playing quality and broader visibility in the crowded Australian sporting marketplace.
“I think in a perfect world for our league and our growth it would have to be better balanced," Jamieson said today, expanding on comments previously made to RSN.
"But I think where we’re at as a league, where we’re sitting in terms of eyes and bums on seats, I think it’s a great initiative.
“I think if we were in a really healthy state in our league, and we were flying I don’t necessarily think five marquees out of the cap would generally benefit the whole league – we’ve got a lot of good youngsters coming through and it might block one or two.
“But on the contrary to that, our league is struggling and I think in terms of getting viewers back, in terms of getting interest back, I think the quality you bring in from overseas will gain that traction again and give us a better standing in the sporting landscape.”
Jamieson said that a short-term sugar hit might be just what the competition needs right now.
“I think in the short term we need something,” he said. “I believe in regards to what we need now, I think we need it.
“It’s a tough one, but I think if you put five out of the cap people have the opinion that it’s going to strengthen the top teams and disadvantage the so-called bottom teams.
“But I had a good conversation with Rostyn Griffiths and we were talking about if say, Sydney FC signs four or five top-class marquees, five good foreigners, they essentially take the place of a good Australian such as my friend Luke Brattan.
"They replace Luke Brattan but the other clubs down the bottom have the chance to sign Luke Brattan, so it strengthens them.
“So, it's how you look at it. I’m a believer that something like this has to happen and speaking for myself – I don’t speak for Melbourne City, I don’t speak for the CFG, I’m speaking for myself – I think it’s going to be beneficial to us.
“Where is our league going at the moment? We as a code?
“I like [new FFA CEO] James Johnson, from what I’ve read from him, the transfer fee things I think is a great initiative too, bringing in transfer fees.
“I haven’t got in-depth into it but he’s talking about connecting NPL clubs and them receiving payments for producing players. I think that can only benefit NPL clubs to enable them to invest in their coaches, their academies so A-League teams, if they do choose to sign them, they get a fee.
“I think there’s a real opportunity here.”
Jamieson was speaking on the eve of a personal milestone, set to play his 250th A-League game against Brisbane Roar on Sunday.
A graduate of the Westfield Sports High and a Blacktown City junior, Jamieson, assuming no last-minute pratfalls emerge, will join just 12 other players to have accomplished the feat when he runs onto AAMI Park on Sunday evening – although he’s got a way to go before he catches Andrew Durante’s record of 331.
The 31-year-old has racked up the frequent flier miles on his way to the milestone, previously on the books at Adelaide United, Sydney FC, Perth Glory and Western Sydney Wanderers in the A-League and Bolton Wanderers and IFK Göteborg overseas.
City, however, recently became the club where he has played the most games – his 67 appearances at the club eclipsing the 55 he had with Perth Glory.
“I’ve got friends that have reached 300 so I’m a bit jealous of that they’re at 300 and I’m at 250,” Jamieson joked.
“At the end of the career, it will be interesting to see how many I rack up but that’s a little thing I’ll look on before the weekend and then get back to it.
“Coming here was a long term thing, I signed a long term contract. Prior to this, I think the longest was probably Perth Glory.
“But you know I’m a Western Sydney boy and Western Sydney was where I though was going to end my career in terms of clubs but for whatever reasons I ended up going overseas.
“But since I’ve come here I’ve really enjoyed the ride for what it’s been.
“Obviously very disappointed I haven’t had any trophies to add to that but I still think there’s another four of five years, touch wood with injuries, that I can rack up some trophies with this club and help leave a mark and leave something that the club can build on.”