Football Federation Australia chief executive David Gallop says A-League clubs may still find it difficult to sign high-profile international stars even with the new guest-player slot.
FFA recently introduced a full-season guest player role tailor-made to help Melbourne City sign Socceroos veteran Tim Cahill.
However Gallop warned clubs will still be hard-pressed to lure big, marketable names to Australia as they struggle to balance star power with a desire to win games – all in a salary-cap system.
“It’s always tough,” Gallop said on Monday after announcing Hyundai’s four-year A-League sponsorship extension.
“There’s a big expectation about big-name stars, but football coaches want to win games so there’s always a balance of how they approach that.
“We’ve loosened the rules, if you like, around the full-season guest capacity of clubs in that space.
“But we don’t necessarily think it’s easy to get big-name players.
“There are leagues overseas offering a lot of money and we have to be conscious that we operate in largely a salary-cap environment, an environment where private investors are putting their hand in their own pocket.”
The guest player spot – essentially a third marquee player who meets FFA’s key commercial metrics – has increased conjecture Cahill is set to join City as the new face of the A-League.
Gallop met with Cahill’s management the week before last but on Monday said there were no fresh developments, only reiterating Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer would provide a valuable boost.
His comments came as the league’s first and only naming-rights sponsor Hyundai re-committed until the end of the 2019-2020 season.
The partnership will also extend to a 15th season, expanding to include rights to the Socceroos, Matildas and W-League.
The new four-year deal, which Gallop said was worth millions of dollars and represented a “significant uplift” on the last, does not include incentives for expansion.
But he said that did not necessarily rule out more teams before 2019-2020.
Gallop expected some clubs to take advantage of a change in regulations allowing them to sign with rival car manufacturers in deals upwards of about $500,000.
City started the trend by joining forces with Nissan this month.
“Obviously not everyone will go into that space,” he said.
“But I think we will see the bigger clubs with that kind of sponsorship in upcoming seasons.”
© 2016 SBS | This article first appeared on the AAP website on 25 July 2016.