Hyuk Su Seo, Queensland Roar foundation player © Getty Images

The PFA has reiterated its support for the proposed increase in the maximum permitted number of foreign players from 4 to 5 per A-League club, recognising that potentially larger roster sizes and expansion of the league will result in a greater need for international players as the available pool of Australian players may not be sufficiently deep. Recruiting of international players should be done in a manner that adds genuine quality to the local competition.  PFA analysis suggests that, to date, the majority of foreign players have made a meaningful contribution to the A-League although there is a need for some A-League clubs to improve recruitment and induction programs.

The increase in the number of permitted foreign players has two other benefits: (1) it allows Australia to advocate a position consistent with FIFA’s proposed 6 + 5 rule (something we would like to see the Asian Football Confederation adopt); and (2) as shown in the following table, it does not prevent a substantial increase in the number of opportunities available to Australian players.

2008/2009 2009/2010 2010/2011
Max Players/Club Roster 23 23 23
Max Foreign Players/Club 4 5 5
Number of Clubs 8 10 12
Max Players 184 230 276
Min Australian Players 152 180 216
Max Australian Players 184 230 276
Max Total Foreign Players 32 50 60
% Increase Min Aust Players Previous Season n/a 18.42% 20%
% Increase Min Aust Players 2008/2009 n/a n/a 42.11%
Min % Australian Players 82.61% 78.25% 78.25%
Max % Foreign/Australian Players 17.39% 21.74% 21.74%