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Phoenix plead for international breaks

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 23/03/2017

The Wellington Phoenix have run out of patience with Football Federation Australia, issuing a vigorous demand for an international window in the A-League.

In a strongly-worded statement, Phoenix general manager David Dome says the integrity of the competition is undermined by the FFA's refusal to budge on the issue.

The problem is highlighted again this Sunday when a Phoenix side missing seven key players - six All Whites and Fijian Roy Krishna - host the Newcastle Jets in a key fixture.

Dome said the Phoenix had held "extensive but ultimately fruitless" negotiations for several months with the league's governing body to get the game moved.

He said Newcastle Jets officials were open to doing so.

Dome pointed to concessions made for a split round to accommodate AFC Champions League commitments.

"So it beggars belief why this particular game couldn't have been brought forward to the weekend of March 10-11," Dome said.

"This is not a new scenario. This is not a new challenge. We've been asking FFA for four-five years to factor in proper breaks for International windows.

"It's not that we haven't been reasonable, it's not that we haven't been patient."

Dome was heartened by public comments this week from Professional Footballers Australia chief executive John Didulica, who said it was time for the A-League to prioritise having the best players on the park.

Dome said the present rules acted as a "tacit disincentive" to contract top-tier New Zealand players.

"What reward is there, what incentive is there if every season six to nine points are thrown into jeopardy as our squad's international players become unavailable, due simply to a scheduling oversight?" he said.

The Phoenix have pushed strongly for change during on-going discussions over governance reform of the A-League.

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