Australia moves to toward launch of domestic transfer market

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SYDNEY (Reuters) - Football Australia on Thursday launched plans for a domestic transfer system in an effort to boost the sport's finances by securing a slice of a global transfer market which generated more than $7 billion last year.

"The absence of a domestic transfer system has meant that Australian football has been unable to fully integrate into world football by embedding itself in the global football market, which has led to lost economic and sporting opportunities for our game over many years," said Football Australia Chief Executive James Johnson.

"In 2019, FIFA reported that Australia received just US$1.9 million in transfer receipts from a market currently valued at US$7.35 billion for men alone," he said in launching a "Domestic Transfer System Transformation White Paper".

"This low figure received by Australian clubs is in stark contrast to many nations of a similar or lower international ranking than our national teams, and to many countries with significantly smaller populations than Australia.

"It also highlights that Australian clubs, from the professional right down to the grassroots, are missing out on vital funds that could be used to underpin and enhance the sport."

The move comes less than a week after Football Australia announced the country’s professional leagues, including the A-League, would become self-governing as the structures around the sport in Australia evolve.

Transfer fees for players moving between Australian clubs have not been permitted since the A-League was launched in 2005 while those switching to teams outside the country often move for nominal amounts

"We believe that the implementation of a fit-for-purpose system will have transformational benefits for football in Australia and particularly our professional and grassroots clubs by reconnecting the game and stimulating growth," said Johnson.

(Reporting by Michael Church in HONGKONG, Editing by Michael Perry)