PHILLIP ROLLO/FAIRFAX NZ
Tasman United coach Davor Tavich said his recruitment process won’t be impacted by New Zealand Football’s decision to tweak its foreign quota.
New Zealand Football competitions and events director Daniel Farrow confirmed that teams will only be allowed to name a maximum of seven foreign players plus an extra one from Oceania in their match-day squad during the upcoming ISPS Handa Premiership, which is a “minor change” from the eight foreign players that were allowed during the 2016/17 campaign.
Farrow said the decision was made after the Oceania Football Confederation tightened up its foreign quota in the Champions League, allowing a maximum of just three foreign players plus one extra from Oceania.
Oceania champions and Premiership runners-up Auckland City will be affected the most by the rule changes, coach Ramon Tribulietx frequently deploying all eight foreign players in his starting 11 throughout last season.
But Tavich, who is currently in the process of building his squad for the 2017/18 season, said it won’t have much of an impact at Tasman.
“I think it’s hardly ever that you’d need all the foreign players in the same game, it would basically mean you really have no development,” Tavich said.
“The bottom line is for now and for another year or so, we do need the foreign players to boost the quality and experience. But at some point, sooner rather than later, we might only have two or three and that would just be to enhance the experience in the squad.
“The whole purpose of the national league is to develop your New Zealand footballers so bringing in eight, nine or 10 foreign players every year doesn’t make any sense.”
Farrow said it was likely that the Premiership would tighten its foreign quota even further in the future, although with little lead in time ahead of the 2017/18 campaign it was decided that just a minor tweak would be made this year.
“We felt the timing around OFC was one where we couldn’t make drastic changes because we’re well down the path in terms of recruitment and building squads,” Farrow said.
“Based on how we go this year we’ll keep the dialogue with our clubs and might look to increase that restriction over time.”
Farrow said it was a balancing act, ensuring the Premiership remained competitive but also provided a platform to develop All Whites.
“We’ve always had the stated intent that we’d like to see more New Zealanders playing in our national league and our competitions review now defines one of the purposes as enabling more New Zealands to succeed on the global stage, and that means we need New Zealanders playing in our national league.
“But we’re also acutely aware that the national league has probably been the most competitive for a number of years and we’ve got players like Clayton Lewis who are stepping from the national league into the Confederations Cup and we need to keep our league as competitive and quality as we can.”
To be counted as a local, a player needs to have New Zealand citizenship.