Kewell`s A-League talks break down: Manager

Melbourne: Harry Kewell`s prospects of playing in Australia`s A-League have fallen through after a breakdown in talks with the Football Federation Australia, his manager said on Monday.

The former Liverpool star was weighing up offers with Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC and was close to a decision but after commercial talks with the FFA the negotiations broke down, manager Bernie Mandic said.

Mandic said he could not reach agreement with the FFA over a split in any additional gate revenue from away games that Kewell would play in.

The Melbourne Age over the weekend reported that the FFA had offered a lucrative marketing role to entice the former Liverpool star to finish his career in the A-League.

But after talks with the FFA, the deal Mandic and Kewell had proposed to them was rejected, Mandic said.

"As has been the case with all A-League clubs, we have never asked the FFA for any guaranteed income for Harry," Mandic told a Melbourne radio station on Monday.

"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.

"Now this was not accepted by the FFA, which is fair enough."

The FFA on Monday confirmed it had made an offer.

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

"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 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 A-League club and would be a great boost for the competition."

Mandic said the 32-year-old former Leeds United and Liverpool forward was back in Europe weighing up other contract offers with the clubs expecting an answer by Tuesday.

Mandic said Kewell was still "happy to play in the A-League", and suggested the ball remained in the FFA`s court.

Mandic was at the centre of controversy when Kewell joined Liverpool from Leeds United in July 2003 for a total five-year package of 13.5 million pounds ($22 million at current rates) plus a 2.4 million pound loyalty bonus, payable over three years.

Leeds had wanted a seven million pound transfer fee, but Liverpool offered five million -- with two million of that going to Mandic`s company, Max Sport, as payment for work it had done for Leeds in Australia.

Bureau Report

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