Harry Kewell’s Return to Australia With A-League Soccer Club in Doubt

Socceroos forward Harry Kewell is unlikely to play in the A-League next season after negotiations with Football Federation Australia broke down, his manager Bernie Mandic said.

The Sydney-based FFA rejected a proposal that would see the former Liverpool and Leeds player receive a 30-70 percent split of any additional gate revenue from A-League away games he plays in, Mandic said today in an interview with SEN radio.

“The most disappointing part of it is we had just come to agreement with both Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory,” Mandic said. “We were in the final stages of Harry choosing his Australian destination. We don’t have the time to explore additional avenues.”

The 32-year-old Kewell, an attacking midfielder who can also play as a striker, is out of contract after being released by Turkish club Galatasaray. He’s scored 16 goals in 53 appearances for Australia’s national team.

Kewell has offers from clubs outside Australia, Mandic said. A deal to play in the A-League next season would only happen under the 30-70 proposal, he added.

“People actually keep throwing money at us, we don’t want their money,” Mandic said. “They come up with these formulas of their own. It is a simple formula, it is bums on seats, additional revenue.”

‘Responsible and Prudent’

The FFA said today it was satisfied that its offer of a “marketing services agreement” with Kewell 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 fact remains that Harry Kewell would be a fabulous acquisition for any A-League club and would be a great boost for the competition,” the FFA said in a statement.

Melbourne Victory “remains extremely interested” in signing Kewell, said Managing Director Richard Wilson, adding that its negotiations with Mandic are separate to those of the governing body.

“It’s very much in Bernie’s hands,” Wilson said at a news conference. “We’ve put a very strong proposal to bring Harry to Melbourne Victory. We remain very hopeful.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at dbaynes@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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