Sydney FC coach Frank Farina says the A-League’s unique transfer window time frame risks breaking restraint of trade laws.
Major leagues around the world opened their transfer window on January 1 but A-League clubs aren’t permitted to move or bring in players until January 14.
It means the likes of striker Joel Griffiths, who was out of contract with his Chinese club on December 31, is unable to don a sky blue shirt until Sydney’s meeting with Wellington on January 19.
Farina wants to know why Australia’s transfer window is out of kilter with the rest of the world, warning A-League bosses they may be breaching workplace employment regulations.
“I don’t agree with the window here. Joel Griffiths was off contract the 31st of December so it’s not as if he’s still contracted to a club,” Farina said after his side finished a short training session in punishing heat on Tuesday.
“But he can’t play until the 14th which for me is crazy. It’s almost a restraint of trade that he can’t play for those two weeks.
“In good faith they put the dates down thinking it was going to be the best thing for the league but for us, in our situation, it’s not.
“You’re not always going to please everyone and at this stage we’re not pleased.
“Sometimes it will work for you and other times it won’t. I think we can tweak it and get it better.”
Sydney FC CEO Tony Pignata has already indicated he will raise the matter with Football Federation Australia officials and fellow club bosses at season’s end
The Sky Blues are anxious for January 14 to tick over, not only to unleash Griffiths but to also step up their search for a central defender.
But Farina admits potential prospects are thin on the ground.
He said: “If we can (we’ll sign a defender). The problem is we can look hard but we’ve got to find one and one that’s ready to play right now and is available.
“It’s a bit of a tall ask at this stage.
“That’s the problem with the timing of the window.”
Having picked up a vital point in a 2-2 draw with Perth Glory last weekend, Sydney host Melbourne Heart at Allianz Stadium on Sunday in a match vital to their hopes of making late-season finals run.