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Ditch A-League salary cap: Merrick

NZN 25/07/2016

Wellington coach Ernie Merrick has called for an end to the A-League salary cap, arguing the competition is too mature for a system that's become outdated.

Each club can spend up to $2.6 million under the cap but are allowed to sign two marquees outside of it along with a season-long guest player - essentially a third marquee.

With loyalty bonuses and other conditions thrown in, Merrick believes the set-up has passed its use-by date.

"I just don't know why we bother with a salary cap," he told Fairfax Media.

"I think we've grown up. It's been 10 years now, let's just get on with it.

"I don't know if it is a salary cap anymore, because there is a certain amount you can spend within the cap, then there are all these special, little loyalty bonuses and first-year player bonuses.

"There are that many I have lost track, and then on top of that you can now really sign three marquee players."

Merrick, the A-League's longest-serving coach, said clubs should be encouraged to spend big.

Even if it means the Phoenix don't have the cash to match the recruitment of big clubs like Sydney FC, Melbourne Victory and Manchester City-owned Melbourne City, who are understood to be on the verge of signing Tim Cahill.

As an example he cited America's Major League Soccer, which has a salary cap of $US3.49 million ($A4.68 million) along with three `designated players', equivalent to marquees, outside of that.

"Why not let people invest big?" Merrick said.

"It just makes the league grow rapidly. That's what's happening in the MLS.

"It would present more of a challenge to our club to recruit well economically, to develop players, to have an academy where you're bringing players through.

"The challenge and the pressure is good for everyone."

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