Aussie return for Kewell in doubt

Harry Kewell's proposed move to the A-League has been thrown into doubt after the player's agent revealed negotiations had broken down with the Football Federation of Australia.

Harry Kewell's proposed move to the A-League has been thrown into doubt after the player's agent revealed negotiations had broken down with the Football Federation of Australia.

Bernie Mandic told radio station SEN on Monday that Kewell had agreed in principle to terms with both Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC and had been close to making a decision on his destination.

But the 32-year-old's move is now in jeopardy after subsequent negotiations with the FFA broke down, with the Kewell camp's request for a percentage of increased profit from away matches the sticking point.

Mandic also criticised corporate affairs manager Kyle Patterson for 'misleading' comments on the negotiations with Kewell over the weekend.

With A-League clubs restricted by the confines of the salary cap, the FFA's complementary package to make Kewell the face of the competition is integral to the former Leeds and Liverpool forward's move to Australia.

"The catalyst for this was some misleading comments from FFA's Kyle Patterson over the weekend regarding our negotiations with the FFA," Mandic said.

"The long and the short of it is that at no point in time have we spoken with Mr Patterson about anything related to Harry coming back to Australia.

"But, more importantly, as has been the case with all A-League clubs, we have never asked the FFA for any guaranteed income for Harry.

"The FFA offered to assist in bringing Harry back to play in Australia and asked what it would cost to use Harry to market and promote the sport in partnership with the FFA.

"We offered them a better deal than we have offered the A-League clubs: a 30-70 split of any additional gate revenue from the away games that Harry plays in.

"If there are no more people coming to the away games that Harry plays in, Harry gets nothing.

"But he is still happy to market and promote the sport.

"Now this was not accepted by the FFA, which is fair enough. But it's disappointing then that a story gets placed in a paper."

Mandic said Kewell was still 'happy to play in the A-League', and intimated that the ball remained in the FFA's court.

"The most disappointing part of it is that we have actually just come to agreement both with Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory in principle and were in the final stages of Harry choosing his Australian destination," he said.

"From our end, nothing has changed.

"Harry is happy to play in the A-League but he will not doing it for any financial guarantees, whether from the FFA or anybody else. Hopefully this can happen down the track - if not this year, then next year or the year after."

The FFA have since responded to Mandic's comments by reaffirming their support for any A-League club seeking to sign Kewell.

"FFA has noted the public comments this morning by Harry's manager Bernie Mandic in relation to FFA's offer of support," said an FFA spokesman.

"We are satisfied the offer of support by way of a marketing services agreement would be a responsible and prudent way to lift the profile and marketability of the Hyundai A-League and complement any contract Harry may sign with an individual club.

"The fact remains that Harry Kewell would be a fabulous acquisition for any Hyundai A-League club and would be a great boost for the competition."

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