FFA reminds clubs of rules

As the exit queue at Gold Coast United swells up, Football Federation Australia has stepped in to remind all Hyundai A-League clubs that any approaches for their off-contract stars are to come through them.

As the exit queue at Gold Coast United swells up, Football Federation Australia has stepped in to remind all Hyundai A-League clubs that any approaches for their off-contract stars are to come through them.

In-form wing-back Daniel Bowles on Thursday signed with Adelaide, joining teammates Adama Traore (Melbourne Victory), James Brown (Newcastle) and Chris Harold (Perth) in a growing player exodus.

There will no doubt be more to follow, with the future of the embattled club still uncertain and all but a handful of players coming off-contract at the end of April.

However, in a memo sent to all clubs on Thursday, FFA moved to calm the feeding frenzy.

It's believed the Federation told all clubs that they must abide by usual protocol when making expressions of interest in players at United, which means it must be delivered in writing to current owners, FFA.

"Clubs are clamouring for our players," Gold Coast coach Mike Mulvey said.

"Letters have been sent overnight asking to talk to several of them."

The players themselves are between a rock and a hard place.

With a new consortium of businessmen interested in taking over the club, there is a glimmer of hope that Gold Coast will survive the turmoil of recent weeks.

Some are holding out just in case they're successful - but others, like Bowles, chose to bite the bullet and move for the sake of their career.

The longer it takes for a decision to be made by FFA, the harder it is for everyone involved, according to Mulvey.

"There's lots of humane things that are on the line here," he said.

"It's important a decision is made now so that players know with a degree of certainty that they can continue their lease on their house, or that their child can continue at a certain school."

"We also need to start planning for next year, if we're here, so I can start recruiting players that I potentially want to bring to the club."

"If that means FFA come out and say 'sorry, we're closing the club', then that needs to be said."

Forever the optimist, Mulvey is desperately hoping for the other option.

United's season could have fallen into a downward spiral when Clive Palmer was stripped of his license to own the club, but instead the Manchester-born coach has steered a youth-led revival.

And he's certain there's more where that came from.

"I'm a bit of a football romantic," he said.

"This squad has managed to win the youth title over the last two years. What kind of a story would it be if in two or three years time, they're challenging for the A-League title?"

"That's not an easy feat but I'm a romantic, and it's a possibility. You add a few experienced players to this group and the future would be so bright for this club it's not funny."

"We've still got the nucleus of a very good squad here. It's up to the rest to decide how far we take it."