AFTER being released from his lucrative contract with Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua last week, Australian soccer fans were optimistic about the chances of Tim Cahill entering the A-League.
The Aussie marksman was quick to rule out an immediate debut in the domestic competition however, signing for Chinese Super League side Hangzhou Greentown earlier this week.
Cahill received a 5.4 million dollar severance package from Shanghai, but still wanted to play competitive football at the highest level possible with important international fixtures on the horizon.
Given the international window was closed worldwide, Cahill’s options were limited solely to the Chinese league given their transfer deadline does not close until Saturday Australian time.
Despite this, FFA Chief Executive David Gallop was critical of Cahill, saying Australia’s top international goal scorer did not even consider a move to the A-League.
“We contacted Tim and his advisors immediately when we heard that he’s not going to be part of Shanghai any longer,” Gallop said.
“A number of our clubs contacted him immediately. I personally was in contact with him. He made it clear immediately that we couldn’t meet his needs.”
The comments did not sit well with Cahill.
In a response on social media app Instagram, the 36-year-old outlined the reasons why he was unable to play in the A-League this season.
“I have been really hurt by some of the things that have been said and written about me today.” Cahill posted on the weekend.
“The most hurtful of all these is the suggestion that I had made it clear to the FFA that it could not meet my NEEDS. This is totally incorrect. I have never said that, nor anything like it. Since my contract was terminated earlier this week, I have not spoken to anyone at the FFA about any contractual terms or about money.
“The reason for me not being able to consider an Aleague move is that the transfer window had closed when my Shanghai Shenhua contract was mutually terminated. According to FIFA regulations, no Aleague club could sign me. It was the FFA who informed me of this and that was the end of the conversation with the FFA.”
Cahill has stated in the past a return to the A-League was never about a huge salary, but more about an opportunity to promote the game in Australia.
“I asked for grassroots, I asked for a project, I asked for a vision – vision isn’t just about money,” Cahill said in February.
“The only thing is, some people’s vision is not as big as mine and it’s tough, because it depends where they want to be.
“Where does the A-League want to be?”
Cahill’s comments came in the wake of a failed attempt to secure a license to bring in a South-Sydney franchise to the league, as well as an academy program in his name.
The A-League had concerns about the control Cahill would have over the license and the implementation of his academy.
Despite slamming the former Everton man, Gallop said the A-League would always welcome Cahill if and when he decides to join the competition, but reiterated the FFA’s stance on their vision for future the completion.
“We would love to have Tim in the A-League and we were very clear about our vision, our confidence in the league,” Gallop said.
“We have a 20-year vision in our game that we released a year ago. We have our four-year strategy in place, which is very much about the quality in competition, the growth that will give us and the financial stability that will give us and we must responsibly and prudently invest our funds.”
Gallop’s comments open the door for Cahill to enter the competition next season.
Centrebet have put together a Tim Cahill Special promotion in wake of the optimism, with the Western Sydney Wanderers and Melbourne City front runners in the eyes of the online bookmakers to attain the coveted signature of the Australian great.
Which A-League club will Tim Cahill play for first?
All odds provided by centrebet.com.au
Bets refunded if Cahill does not play for an A-League club in 2016.
Western Sydney Wanderers: $2.60
Melbourne City: $3.25
Melbourne Victory: $6.00
Sydney FC: $7.00
Perth Glory: $8.00
Brisbane Roar: $13.00
Adelaide United: $21.00
Newcastle Jets: $26.00
Wellington Phoenix: $34.00
Central Coast Mariners: $41.00