State soccer boss rejects salary cap

Devonport take on Northern Rangers in the state league last season.
Devonport take on Northern Rangers in the state league last season.

A salary cap is not the solution to Tasmanian soccer’s financial imbalance according to Mike Palmer.

The Football Federation Tasmania CEO said he would like to see a level playing field for state league clubs but limiting expenditure would prove counter-productive.

“This is a sport that has never traditionally had a salary cap,” Palmer said.

“The A-League has one but there are still ways to get in players like Tim Cahill that is for the benefit of the game.

“But it is difficult, if not impossible, in an amateur competition where players are not contracted. Players can be paid and clubs do pay them but these players are not contracted to the clubs.

“Without players being on contract it is impossible for us to enforce.

“The biggest way that clubs attract players is sustainable employment and that is probably also the case in footy, cricket and other sports. And I don’t know how you would include the salary of someone given a job into a salary cap. 

“The majority of players play for free and if you had a salary cap theoretically it could be spent on just two or three players who could make all the difference.

“A number of clubs pay players by getting them to do junior development roles so if we put in place a salary cap which prevented that it would be massively counter-productive to the sport.”

Palmer said he did not believe that the eight-team state league was becoming imbalanced and warned imposing restrictions on the bigger clubs could lead to mediocrity across the board.

“Over the last three seasons we have had three different winners in South Hobart, Olympia and Devonport and it is not unrealistic to think it might be someone else next year.

“We genuinely would like an even competition but the rules in an amateur competition do not allow us to intervene to make that happen.

“I would like to see all clubs well financed so we are not in the business of pulling clubs back.”

Palmer was speaking in the wake of Hobart Zebras and Olympia poaching coaches Peter Savill and Ian Shaw from Devonport and Kingborough respectively.

Savill’s move prompted Strikers president Rod Andrews to criticise advances to coaches and players. “We’d love to see Melbourne clubs looking at our players and for them to move to clubs that’s actually a step up but not these self-serving promises from cashed up clubs from the South,” he said.