Tim Cahill has launched scathing criticism of Football Federation Australia (FFA), attacking its grassroots programs and the A-League competition.
Following his shock axing by Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua on Tuesday, the 36-year-old admitted he regularly thought about a return to the A-League, but said the competition’s current lack of vision would only hurt his career.
He saved his strongest criticism for the FFA’s handling of the national team, who have gone three years without a major sponsor.
“We’ve played in three World Cups and we don’t really have anything to show for it,” Cahill told News Corp Australia.
“Every time I go back it’s mayhem and you don’t understand how that makes me feel, but at the moment the game is in a bit of a rut where it’s caught in a crossroads.”
A number of international stars have arrived on Australia’s shores since the introduction of the A-League in 2005, including Alessandro Del Piero, Dwight Yorke and Shinji Ono.
But Cahill says none of the stars were used to correctly promote the game.
“Del Piero was one of the biggest things to ever happen to the game, but also the worst because it wasn’t capitalised on,” he said.
“A guest stint for anyone can only harm you and coming back without any sort of plan and substance is always a recipe for disaster.
“I’ve seen the record with short-term goals of going back to the A-League and the destruction that it’s had on top players careers who have come back to finish there.”
He also questioned the federation’s long-term vision of the game, saying the FFA is holding the sport back by not putting enough emphasis on the sport’s next generation.
“We have the lifestyle, the great schools, great cities and multiculturalism. The only thing we don’t have is investment in the game,” he said.