'It's a fundamental issue' - Ex-Socceroo Coyne calls for Australian transfer market

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Former Socceroo Chris Coyne says Australian football is in dire need of a transfer market to encourage clubs to invest more in youth development.

The lack of playing opportunities for young players at home and concerns over Australia’s production line have grown in recent times.

In 2019, Australian clubs contributed a mere $2 million to the global transfer market, which is valued at about $11 billion.

There is also a ban on domestic transfer fees between A-League and National Premier League clubs to sign players.

Coyne, who played professionally in the UK and China, as well as for the Socceroos, believes this needs to change to incentivise local clubs to spend more on developing their own talent.

“I think the fundamental issue with the A-League, and I think it’s endemic with the whole of Australian football, is there’s no transfer market,” the 41-year-old told The World Game.

“So if you’re a chairman and you’re looking at a business model, why am I going to invest two million in youth development when there’s no transfer market?

“So if I develop a player, say Danny De Silva for example, and his contract runs out at 18 and he’s a free agent... I don’t understand, you’re going to invest all that money into someone and develop him from 12 up to 18 and as soon as his contract expires all of a sudden he can let it run out and just move somewhere.

“For me, the transfer market is a huge thing and even at the NPL level. We don’t have to talk about the European market, but if you were picking up $50,000 or $60,000 for a kid that comes through and plays in the A-League, and it doesn’t have to be upfront money, it can be once he makes his debut in the A-League and then the club gets remunerated.

“So you can back-end the money because you’ve got a ready-made product there if he’s ready to play first-team football.

"Then the club gets remunerated, that money can be reinvested and the FFA could put stipulations that 40%, 50% has to be put back into a youth academy or whatever.

“So instead of clubs just having the luxury of going, 'I’m going to watch Bankstown versus Manly today, I like Lucas Neill so I’m just going to take him', but I’ve spent the past five years coaching him... until you have a marketplace there’s no incentive for clubs to invest so heavily in their youth development.”

In February FFA chief executive James Johnson publicly backed the axing of the long-term ban on domestic transfer fees.

Johnson also supported the strengthening of training compensation that goes from A-League clubs to NPL sides.

Coyne, the head coach of NPL Western Australian club Bayswater City, feels NPL clubs are not adequately compensated for developing young players that then go on to play professionally and for the national team.

“In Western Australia, there’s nothing at all,” the ex-Perth Glory defender said.

“If you have a kid from start to finish – the man-hours, the time – and to get kids to that level you need good coaches, so you’ve got to pay them a decent income as well.

“The investment has got to be there for the club to keep putting that money in. It’s a bad business model.

“You only have to look at Manchester City, Aaron Mooy comes in at $2 million, he goes out at $10 million and they get an extra 20% on his sell-on to Brighton and all of a sudden they’ve made 10 million pounds out of a player.

“I know it’s inflated, and it’s an inflated market, but it’s a business model. They might do that 20 times a year and it’s more than they make in ticket sales.”