FOOTBALL: The confirmation of Dimitri Petratos's move from Brisbane Roar to Newcastle Jets has again sparked debate about the validity of the A-League salary cap.
Petratos will join the Jets next season and former Western Sydney Wanderers keepeer Ante Covic has questioned whether the system actually punishes successful clubs such as Brisbane which is unable to keep hold of its best young talent.
Brisbane has moved to tie down veterans Thomas Kristensen and Matt McKay in recent weeks, while negotiations with Thomas Broich will take place at the end of the season. Speculation over the futures of fellow key players Luke DeVere and Jamie Maclaren remains.
Both Maclaren and DeVere have been linked with moves away from the club and Brisbane has little room to move, with Tommy Oar and Brett Holman already tied down on marquee deals next season.
That means Brisbane's squad could be decimated, with young stars moving elsewhere for due rewards for their form.
"This is where the salary cap hurts teams,” Covic told foxsports.com.au.
"You've got young players who come through, do well, but this is the reality of Australian football where it's very difficult for clubs to keep those players.
"You can't blame the players for wanting to better their career and get to a stage where they're the best.
"While it's fantastic Brisbane Roar have these great young players to build up, it's a harsh reality where they're at an age where they have opportunities to explore.
"With a salary capped league, success is punished.”
With Petratos's defection to Newcastle next season - mooted to be so he can move closer to his family, with his brother (Kosta) also tipped to sign for the Jets - there is also discussion about the merits of changing A-League transfer rules, which currently denies clubs the chance to receive compensation from rivals to secure the services of players.
In Perth, Glory defender Rhys Williams has attracted interest from Sydney FC, but the club is unwilling to release the former Socceroo to move to the Sky Blues.
Petratos is coming off contract at season's end but a possible transfer fee could have accelerated discussions to a January move.
"How can we help clubs as well as players to move on,” Covic said.
"Is that where transfers can come in where there's compensation or a fee or something that can help both player and club.
"I understand why the salary cap is there but there has to be a discussion about how long it's valid for. We're unique where we have different temptations - we have Asia, we have Europe - and it's a short career so players are going to look out for the best deal.
"I know personally with the Wanderers when we won the Premiership and the Asian Champions League, we were extremely successful so good players came, but we also ended up losing a bunch of players because the club had no room to keep them.”
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