Kewell won’t play in A-League, says manager

Socceroos midfielder Harry Kewell will not play in Australia’s

A-League, the manager for the former Liverpool and Leeds star said

Monday.

Bernie Mandic told a Melbourne radio station that Football

Federation Australia had rejected a deal that he and Kewell had

proposed over gate revenues.

Mandic said the 32-year-old Kewell, off contract with Turkish

club Galatasaray, had agreed to terms in principle with both

Melbourne Victory and Sydney, and was close to making a decision on

where he would play, but it required FFA’s approval.

Mandic said under the proposal Kewell, who has scored 16 goals

for Australia in 54 matches, would have been used to ”market and

promote the sport in partnership with the FFA.”

”We offered them a better deal than we have offered the

A-League clubs – a 30-70 split of any additional gate revenue from

the away games that Harry plays in,” Mandic said.

”If there are no more people coming to the away games that

Harry plays in, Harry gets nothing. Now this was not accepted by

the FFA, which is fair enough.”

The FFA issued a statement later Monday saying the door might

not be closed on Kewell playing in Australia.

”We are satisfied the offer of support by way of a marketing

services agreement would be a responsible and prudent way to lift

the profile and marketability of the A-League and complement any

contract Harry may sign with an individual club,” the FFA said.

”The fact remains that Harry Kewell would be a fabulous

acquisition for any club and would be a great boost for the

competition.”

Most A-League teams have been hit by falling attendance. North

Queensland Fury folded in November from financial problems,

reducing the league to 10 teams for next season, and several other

clubs are reported to be in difficulty.

The prospective return of Kewell, one of Australia’s

highest-profile players, had generated interest across the country

and would have made him easily the marquee player in the league

after the departure of former Liverpool and England striker Robbie

Fowler from Perth Glory.