24 Mar 2017

Phoenix air frustrations to FFA

9:12 am on 24 March 2017

The Wellington Phoenix have lashed out at Football Federation Australia over their failure to act over A-League clashes with international fixtures.

Wellington Phoenix striker Kosta Barbarouses.

Wellington Phoenix striker Kosta Barbarouses. Photo: Photosport

After extensive but ultimately fruitless dialogue with the FFA the Phoenix are calling for a concrete commitment from the governing body that International windows will be integrated into the 2017-2018 season schedule.

Ahead of a crucial fixture that could prove decisive for the composition of the top six, the Phoenix find themselves without seven key players for the must-win clash against Newcastle Jets.

While the club has confidence in the players left available for selection it's a situation that General Manager David Dome feels undermines the competitive integrity of the entire competition.

In a strongly-worded statement Dome said the integrity of the competition is undermined by the FFA's refusal to budge on the issue.

The Phoenix will be without six All Whites and Fijian Roy Krishna on Sunday and Dome said the Phoenix had held "extensive but ultimately fruitless" negotiations for several months with the league's governing body to get the game moved.

He said Newcastle Jets officials were open to doing so.

Dome pointed to concessions made for a split round to accommodate AFC Champions League commitments.

"So it beggars belief why this particular game couldn't have been brought forward to the weekend of March 10-11," Dome said.

"This is not a new scenario. This is not a new challenge. We've been asking FFA for four-five years to factor in proper breaks for International windows.

"It's not that we haven't been reasonable, it's not that we haven't been patient."

Dome was heartened by public comments this week from Professional Footballers Australia chief executive John Didulica, who said it was time for the A-League to prioritise having the best players on the park.

Dome said the present rules acted as a "tacit disincentive" to contract top-tier New Zealand players.

"What reward is there, what incentive is there if every season six to nine points are thrown into jeopardy as our squad's international players become unavailable, due simply to a scheduling oversight?" he said.

The Phoenix have pushed strongly for change during on-going discussions over governance reform of the A-League.