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Soccer stumps up for star power under new TV deal


Tim Cahill has thrown his support behind Football Federation Australia’s tripling of its marquee war chest that brought the veteran Socceroos striker home to the A-League.

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As part of its record new six-year, $346 million TV deal with Fox Sports, the governing body has pledged to set aside $3 million annually for its marquee fund in a bid to attract more high-profile recruits.

Cahill to date is the only player with enough of a marketing reach to have persuaded FFA to dip into the fund, having joined Melbourne City in August.

He said glamour signings were crucial to raise the game’s profile in a highly competitive Australian market.

“They’re important for each club,” Cahill said.

“It helps the fans, it helps the exposure.

“We have to really focus on getting kids and families to games.”

Before this year, marquee recruitment was primarily the responsibility of clubs, with FFA chipping in behind the scenes.

But in acknowledgement of the urgent need to boost the league, the organisation in March dedicated $1 million to help finance big-name signings, with the goal to expand the pot significantly once long-term TV revenue was secure.

With the new television deal now done and a free-to-air component still to come, FFA chief executive David Gallop said there was no better time.

“We’ve had great success by making an investment into a new fund this season,” Gallop said.

“Exhibit A is (Tim Cahill) and we’re adding $2 million.

“Stars work in sport, and we’ll work with our clubs to chase marquee players.”

Didier Drogba is the latest star to be linked with a potential A-League move following a report Western Sydney are exploring the option of signing the former Chelsea striker.

The Wanderers also made an unsuccessful bid for Robbie Keane, while Dimitar Berbatov’s name crept onto the club’s radar earlier this month.


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