Last week the FFA announced new Player Contract Regulations that will allow clubs to sign up to three National Youth League players to minimum wage contracts outside of the salary cap.
According to the FFA “Clubs now have the ability to develop talented players with more certainty of retention with up to three players eligible to receive the improved contract while remaining on the NYL roster.”
However this move is unlikely to be taken up by many clubs who are already struggling financially.
The FFA has a minimum wage in place for youth players and this is to be kept in place with this new development. In fact they announced that players on an A League contract or a National Youth League contract will in fact benefit from an increase in their salary.
The increase of the minimum wage for players over 21 was of 2.2 per cent to $45,990 and $37,129.26 for players under 21.
This sounds encouraging if you are a youth player, but from the club’s perspective it is not a good move as they are going to be shelling out more money for players who may never get a game in the first team.
Rather than adopting this position, the FFA would have seen more clubs take up an apprentice-style recruitment, where the wages are lower and the players that have been earmarked as possibly making it to the next level can continue their studies while attached to the club.
We can see what the motivation was for this announcement, and we applaud it, but to force clubs to pay such high salaries to unproven players is unrealistic.
This will not be taken up by many clubs and is made abundantly clear by the number of average players that are kept on in the A League or shift clubs each season. These players are known entities, and with a salary cap a safe option for not too much money. They will always get contracts against some younger player as long as the salary cap exists.