John Aloisi signing for Sydney FC © Getty Images

Players coming off contract in 2009 are free to sign with a new club from 1 October under new player contract rules agreed between FFA, the A-League Clubs and the PFA.

The new player contract rules are designed to achieve a level playing field for the 8 existing A-League clubs and the 2 new expansion clubs (Gold Coast and North Queensland) for the 2009/2010 playing season.

Before these rules, players were only free to sign a new contract with another club in the last 6 months of their contract. This principle is maintained in the new rules which also seek to bring all contracts into alignment with the 1 April to 31 March contract year set out in the A-League Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The key features of the new rules are:

  • Players coming off contract in 2009 are free to sign a contract with another club from 1 October 2008.
  • Many players have contracts which are due to end on 30 June 2009. If a player in this position signs a contract with another club between 1 October and 31 December 2008:

o his current contract will end on 31 March 2009; and

o his new contract will start on 1 April 2009.

However, if the player is involved in the Asian Champions League with Central Coast or Newcastle his contract will end on 31 May.

  • If a player signs a contract with another club between 1 January and 31 March 2009, his contract will end either on 31 March or its later expiry date by agreement.
  • Players need to ensure they are not financially disadvantaged in bringing forward the end dates of their contracts (ie, that the remuneration and entitlements they receive from their new club between April and June 2009 are at least what would have been paid to them by their old club). If not, they can wait until 1 January to sign a new contract which can start from 1 July 2009.

FFA has also allowed Gold Coast and North Queensland a pro rata salary cap to help those clubs to immediately begin recruiting players in preparation for 2009/10.

As always, players should contact the PFA to obtain specialist advice in relation to their particular case.