A-League: Call to reduce foreign imports to help Australian youth


A-League: Call to reduce foreign imports to help Australian youth

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aussie scott21
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A-League: Call to reduce foreign imports to help Australian youth

Melbourne City’s Daniel Arzani in action against Perth Glory earlier this week. Picture: AAP
Melbourne City’s Daniel Arzani in action against Perth Glory earlier this week. Picture: AAP

As one of the leading player agents in Australia, John Grimaud makes it his business to do the hard yards, travelling long distances and spending a large amount of time searching for the best young talent in the country.

A self-described “mentor”, he has an almost manic determination to see A-League clubs provide more opportunities to young Australian players to develop in the national competition.

Which is why he says he is extremely frustrated at what he sees as a lack of courage and foresight of clubs and coaches, who are more intent on “wasting time and space on some second-rate foreign players” than looking to give our rich vein of talent an opportunity.

“Nothing excites fans more than a young, fresh, brave talent with energy and enthusiasm to make a mark,” Grimaud told The Weekend Australian.

“We are on the cusp of an exciting era ... just look at the Australian under-20s squad.

“Angry is probably not the right word, but I am certainly frustrated by the lack of belief in these kids. I see so much great talent out there and it is going to waste.”

It is not hard to feel his ­frustration, especially when you look at the A-League this season and the emergence of the likes of Perth Glory’s Jacob Italiano (16), ­Melbourne City duo Daniel ­Arzani (19) and Nathan Atkinson (18).

Throw in Melbourne Victory’s Christian Theoharous (18), 17-year-old Rahmat Akbari ­(Brisbane Roar), Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (18) from Adelaide United and Western Sydney’s Keanu Bacchus (19) and Grimaud makes a convincing case for his argument. Italiano and Atkinson aside, most of these players have only been getting bit-part appearances, mainly as substitutes.

Grimaud has no doubts the numbers of young players and their game time could be improved and he believes the way to do it is to reduce the amount of visa players in the A-League.

As it stands now, clubs are ­allowed five foreigners — a figure Grimaud believes is too high.

It’s a thorny subject, given most clubs have stridently opposed any reduction because they believe the foreigners not only bring class to the competition but help boost the interest of fans.

Certainly, in players like Sydney trio Milos Ninkovic, Adrian Mierzejewski and Bobo, Perth’s Diego Castro, Newcastle’s Pato Rodriguez, Victory’s Leroy ­George and Massimo Maccarone at Brisbane, you have top-quality foreigners who fit the bill.

But for every decent foreign player, there are two who don’t hit the mark. They are the mistakes, Grimaud says, the clubs and the game cannot afford.

“Do we need so many visa players? Absolutely not.

“I would like to see the number reduced to say three plus one Asian player, though that could be an issue because we just can’t ­attract the really decent Asian players under our salary cap.

“So, for me, the ideal number would be three and that would stop clubs signing a foreigner for the sake of it.

“As it stands now, I believe we are getting some second-rate ­foreigners who add absolutely nothing to the league.”

Grimaud, who counts the likes of Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie and Brandon Borrello on his books, believes a reduction will not only force A-League coaches to look more to local talent but it would make them more circumspect in regards to the visa players they actually sign.

“If you only have three then you are going to be very careful as to who you sign. You will need to have very good scouting because you cannot afford to make a ­mistake in this department,” he said. “With five, you have room to move and making a mistake isn’t too bad.”

In contrast to Grimaud’s view, Perth Glory chief executive Peter Filopoulos and highly regarded agent Lou Sticca stopped short of calling for a reduction.

Instead they believe a better option is to force clubs to include more under-20s or under-21 players on the matchday teamsheet.

“I’d rather see a mandate that of the matchday squad of 16, you must have three under-21 players involved,” Filopoulos, one of the most forward thinkers in the game, said.

Sticca says the age limit should be even lower. “My position is clear, FFA needs to have three under-20s on every teamsheet for the full A-League season.”

Whether the clubs are prepared to listen remains to be seen.

Championship-winning coach Graham Arnold has built the Sky Blues’ success on his eye for decent foreign players.

While he is an advocate of ­Australian talent, using it to great effect when he took Central Coast Mariners to the title in 2013, he has had a set view that having Australian talent in the squad can be ­detrimental because players ­usually spend long periods away on international duty.

Arnold caused much debate ­recently when he said the A-League is not a development league. “I was maybe the only coach who looked at the international program before the season started.

“I don’t understand what the fuss is about. I did not a hear a comment about the young players going, but I didn’t know the A-League was a development league,” Arnold said.

“It’s a meaningful competition in which clubs expect to win ­trophies.”

A-League: Call to reduce foreign imports to help Australian youth


aussie scott21
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I would prefer having less visa players than making a youth rule. 

As a youth rule perhaps something more like, if you are the home team you can have 16 players, 17 if 2 are under 21 or 18 if 3 are under 21. It is then no extra travel costs to the league. 
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Ah more rules. 


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How about more teams? 

(VAR) IS NAVY BLUE

apillay12
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sydneyfc1987 - 13 Jan 2018 12:45 AM
How about more teams? 

and just have a 3+1 rule like AFC
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This will fix nothing and just make the standard worse. If players are good enough, they will get a run.

Viennese Vuck

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If left unchecked, the likes of Arnie and Aloisi would just bring in less foreigners and more recycled shit like Mat Simon.

Interest would be almost non existent in an already boring league. 

The only thing i'm for is making sure every team is playing under 23 year old Australian players.

That is one rule that is critical to the future of our game.
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All of the clubs complain about the limitations of the salary cap and the size of their squads . How about addressing both issues with a youth policy .

Each club is allowed three or four extra Australian under21s in their squad who are outside the salary cap . They would be a much cheaper option and promote good youth players into the A league .
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If you think the crowd numbers are currently too high, yep, this will work wonders.
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More likely to replace Ninkovic with Cernak than improve youth opportunities.

ARNIE= LEGEND

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If we want younger players to get meaningful time in the A-League then we need a system that results in those younger players presenting with superior skill and football IQ than they do now.  Manufacturing spots for them is only suitable as an interim measure at best.
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'Man with financial interest advocates for system that will make him more money'

Squad rules are fine - I could probably live with a 3+1 requirement (simply because this brings us into line with other AFC nations and AFC competitions) but as Gyfox said, manufacturing spots for U21s is an interim measure at best. Not to mention that most people bang on about the Matt Simon's and Manny Muscat's of the competition, but if there was an U21 quota, what incentive would there have been for the Jets to take a punt on Nabbout (23 when signed by the Jets) or the Victory signing up Antonis (24) for 2 and a half years? Football development doesn't magically finish at 21. Some will bloom early and fizzle out (Kaz Patafta anyone?), whilst others will have an average youth career before becoming a really great footballer.
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You can't mandate who will play on a match day to clubs ...that is totalitarian.
Fix the standard of youth coming through and they will naturally get gametime.
The only way to fix that is to look at what Germany did years ago to bring on young players .
Quite simply ,more resources need to be diverted to coaching kids and then identifying the best and making it worthwile for them to stay in football after age 15 .
(School scholarships, encouraging football in schools , club academies etc . All takes money so spend less in other areas and divert in to the area that counts the most ....youth.
Also bring in transfer fees. It will encourage smaller clubs to develop youth to sell. It will also encourage bigger clubs as they will see the economic benefits in creating a saleable asset .

Edited
6 Months Ago by miron mercedes
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3+1 rule is fine. any other squad quota rules are complete crap. there is literally zero point playing players who aren't good enough just because they are young, thats what a youth league is for. 
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Solution 1: Accept what we have and try to make it work for all scenarios. Lets throw a few women and under 12s in the squads too
Solution 2: Add new teams and implement a proper competitive football system, complimented by proper structure for other parts of the game

This is what happens when you grow up in a country where the most dominate "sport" is a single league

As I have long said, we need to bring in external expertise, such as those who made the J league and K League work. Then we wont have to spend decades trying to solve a problem that has long been solved by others




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Agree with this.

Rarely does any club have more than two imports who are unequivocally better than locals.

Before anyone suggests more than this number of imports are a clear asset for any HAL club, think carefully how they look off the ball in Ball Possession Opposition.

Some former top imports who have better technique on the ball than local players do less than any locals in between spells in any given game when they rely on hardworking Aussies to get the ball and give it to them. It is why many of these imports are no longer wanted for top line football in Europe.

Of course the likes of Broich,  Ninkovic, Berisha, and many of the defenders, like Schekeveld, Jakobsen, Bruijs,  are excellent when the other team has the ball, but many imports don't do a lot of graft in the HAL. At the same time when the imports get the ball they can often look very good. Importantly, they don't make the mistakes young Aussies do either. Also, the imports are unlikely to improve as individuals, just collectively in HAL team game plans.
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Shit idea. Two new teams to the league and that's immediately nearly 40 spots up for grabs by Aussies, not including spots in youth sides. 
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if you think the standard in australia is beyond what can be done by under 20's you are kidding yourself.

there is nothing on the line here. there is no good reason to be playing 2nd, 3rd, 4th tier foreign imports over australian youth.

Expansion - FTA - P&R - Transfer Fees - NOW





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Sorry but reducing the quality of the league is a bad idea. Youth need to be better to make the first teams and that means they need better quality, more professional development leagues. That is where you want to be looking, the tier down from the a-league.
clockwork orange
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There is not a single youth player at Roar better than Kristenson, Papa, Beauteac or Maccarone. So the only guaranteed outcome of this idea would be to weaken the team, the league and hence the appeal of the a league product.
A second Star Wars round would be preferable.
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inala brah - 13 Jan 2018 10:52 AM
if you think the standard in australia is beyond what can be done by under 20's you are kidding yourself.

there is nothing on the line here. there is no good reason to be playing 2nd, 3rd, 4th tier foreign imports over australian youth.

How do you make an outrageous statement like that and accuse others of kidding themselves

The youth league is nothing but youth. Have you seen the quality of that lately?

The reason for shit imports is the salary cap. The reason why there aren't good players alongside good players and real competition for places is because of the salary cap

Without the salary cap you'll see predominately youth in the bottom teams and the best will rise to the top and rightfully earn their place in a big team. You'll also see more teams as you wont see teams at the bottom of the league with $7.5m budgets trying to compete upwards


To get the best out of our youth we need a competitive system where the best are getting regular game time against players they can learn from, and earning their spot in a team. Despite its flaws the NSL managed to do this. The A League wants to be the AFL for fans who would rather watch the AFL




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Making the league worse won't make our youth better.

M80.

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The foreign imports is probably the main thing that makes the A league almost watchable. When you have folks like Roy Odonovan who has spent most of his career struggling in the English lower leagues and he comes to Australia and suddenly hes banging on goals willy nilly it says something about the quality of this league. Also many of the foreign imports we have now are quite good and coming from the better leagues in Europe and South America and still at an age where they can still contribute.

Our myopic vision of preferencing players because they are 1) Australian and 2) young will result in the degeneration of the A league from a watchability perspective and bring down the overall standard of play, which will infact stifle the development of young players. One of the priorities of the A league should be the increase the playing standard not reduce it and youre not going to achieve that via miguided nationalism and age bias. If anything we should take the shackles off and have more foreign imports.
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It should be 3+1 anyway, i dont know why we haven't moved along with Asia and implemented that. 

I think the AFC countries don't like us that much and not having 3+1 is a reason (a small one but crucial towards engaging with Asia). 
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rusty - 13 Jan 2018 12:06 PM
The foreign imports is probably the main thing that makes the A league almost watchable. When you have folks like Roy Odonovan who has spent most of his career struggling in the English lower leagues and he comes to Australia and suddenly hes banging on goals willy nilly it says something about the quality of this league. Also many of the foreign imports we have now are quite good and coming from the better leagues in Europe and South America and still at an age where they can still contribute. Our myopic vision of preferencing players because they are 1) Australian and 2) young will result in the degeneration of the A league from a watchability perspective and bring down the overall standard of play, which will infact stifle the development of young players. One of the priorities of the A league should be the increase the playing standard not reduce it and youre not going to achieve that via miguided nationalism and age bias. If anything we should take the shackles off and have more foreign imports.

If that happens it will kill off the national team, otherwise, where will national team players come from? trees or visionary islands? 
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Put it this way if we want better youth players the tear underneath needs to be looked at, the national youth league is a complete farce (it only contains 8 games) if anyone believes it could be a serious development league has rocks in it's heads.

I personally would scrap the NYL, use that to create a second division, move the NPL season with the a-league and align all seasons together and create a national calendar like the rest of the world does. 
In that way young players could either get loaned out or have there youth/reserve teams play in the league and get that match hardened experience at a higher level for 8 or 9 months per season( ideally should be 10 or 11 months).

Our seasons need to be aligned with each other if we serious about developing more elite players, we need to create a market where youth development is seen as an incentive and not seen as a cost, that mentality itself has been going for too long.
Edited
6 Months Ago by Barca4Life
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Barca4Life - 13 Jan 2018 12:13 PM
rusty - 13 Jan 2018 12:06 PM

If that happens it will kill off the national team, otherwise, where will national team players come from? trees or visionary islands? 

I have yet to see an example of any nation on earth having their national team "killed" because of foreign players in the local league. 

I reckon if there was a blanket rule against any foreign players in the league you'd be one of the first up in arms about Australian players (youth or not) not having good enough competition in the A League, and therefore failing at international level.

Where do Iceland's players come from? The high quality Icelandic league? Or do they just have decent coaching and offer a pathway for players to go overseas?

The A League's salary cap rewards mediocrity, doesn't allow clubs to reach any decent commercial potential and as such ensures the team owners invest as little as possible into their clubs. 

China and Korea have both banned foreign goalkeepers. Korea for nearly two decades now and China for who knows how long. 

Can you name a single Korean or Chinese goalkeeper that has developed in the last twenty years? Hell, ever? Without looking it up I guarantee your answer is no. 

Arsene Wenger revolutionised English football and could arguably be credited with helping the English golden generation come about - whilst being the first manager to name an entirely foreign starting 11 in English league history. 

Minimising foreign players helps who? No one. The only thing it does is lessen the excitement of the local league and help certain people keep a nationalist stiffy for a few years. 
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apillay12 - 13 Jan 2018 12:55 AM
sydneyfc1987 - 13 Jan 2018 12:45 AM

and just have a 3+1 rule like AFC

This + 2nd DIv
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Draupnir - 13 Jan 2018 2:27 PM
Barca4Life - 13 Jan 2018 12:13 PM

I have yet to see an example of any nation on earth having their national team "killed" because of foreign players in the local league. 

I reckon if there was a blanket rule against any foreign players in the league you'd be one of the first up in arms about Australian players (youth or not) not having good enough competition in the A League, and therefore failing at international level.

Where do Iceland's players come from? The high quality Icelandic league? Or do they just have decent coaching and offer a pathway for players to go overseas?

The A League's salary cap rewards mediocrity, doesn't allow clubs to reach any decent commercial potential and as such ensures the team owners invest as little as possible into their clubs. 

China and Korea have both banned foreign goalkeepers. Korea for nearly two decades now and China for who knows how long. 

Can you name a single Korean or Chinese goalkeeper that has developed in the last twenty years? Hell, ever? Without looking it up I guarantee your answer is no. 

Arsene Wenger revolutionised English football and could arguably be credited with helping the English golden generation come about - whilst being the first manager to name an entirely foreign starting 11 in English league history. 

Minimising foreign players helps who? No one. The only thing it does is lessen the excitement of the local league and help certain people keep a nationalist stiffy for a few years. 

Based on the EPL model how has England's national team been going for the last 20 years? Didnt they lose to that country you just mentioned in Iceland whom invested in coaching and facilities 15 years ago? 

Do you want to watch a starting 11 that has no local players at all? Players that have no emotional connection to the football club? 
Edited
6 Months Ago by Barca4Life
paladisious
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Barca4Life - 13 Jan 2018 3:01 PM
Draupnir - 13 Jan 2018 2:27 PM

Based on the EPL model how has England's national team been going for the last 20 years? Didnt they lose to that country you just mentioned in Iceland whom invested in coaching and facilities 15 years ago? 

Do you want to watch a starting 11 that has no local players at all? Players that have no emotional connection to the football club? 

Who are the current world U20 and U17 champions? :)

M80.

Edited
6 Months Ago by paladisious
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