Improving the standard of the game is identified as a key priority in the APFCA’s blueprint released on Wednesday.

In establishing an independently run A-League – the APFCA foresees many opportunities to enhance the league’s legitimacy and professionalism.

This is the first step of many as in addition to improving the game – the APFCA’s blueprint is built on reducing conflicts of interest among the six domestic competitions, nine national teams, broadcasters and the distribution of revenue.

The second and most captivating part of the blueprint is Better Football.

Here are some of the key points from this part of the blueprint.

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Retaining five-visa spots

The APFCA identifies the influence of foreign players in enticing fans and improving the league’s standard.

Citing a survey of club representatives conducted during the 2014/15 season found 83 per cent of respondents believed reducing the amount of visa players would have a negative impact.

Replacing the fifth visa spot with an Asian marquee is a proposal the APFCA opposes ‘due to the inflationary pressures that exist in the market for Asian players that are beyond the control of Australian clubs.’

In comparison with other leagues – the APFCA argue the current system is quite restrictive as it is and contradicts movements in other Asian leagues.

In addition to retaining the five visa spots, the APFCA proposes this remains an ongoing evaluation as the league expands.

Expanding the Bench

This has been a concern for many – especially among youth football advocates.

The APFCA proposes the benches be extended from five spots to seven with the extra two spots allocated for under 23 players.

This suggestion hopes to enhance youth development through further exposure to first team football – in addition to providing coaches with more options come match-day.

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Loans and Transfers among clubs

Already somewhat achieved – the APFCA in their blueprint intend to go full throttle.

As part of this proposal the blueprint suggests a limit of three inward-or-outward loans per club in any given season.

Allowing A-League clubs to loan to one-another has been a recurring point – especially in discussions around youth development.

Establishment of a Professional Referee Body

Having a limited number of professional referees is considered as a big deterrent in the game.

Referees are at the forefront of scrutiny in every league – though this has exacerbated in the A-League especially after the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).

To combat this – the APFCA proposes the establishment of a Professional Game Match Official Body to develop and train professional referees and non-professional assistants.

According to the blueprint – this would be funded by the league and would consist of experienced international referees guest and mentor as part of the body.

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Athos Sirianos
athos@footballnationradio.com.au