Football Federation Australia concedes that independent arbitration might be the only solution as the Michael McGlinchey tug-of-war rumbles on.
Both the Wellington Phoenix and Central Coast Mariners claim the All Whites midfielder is contracted to them for the upcoming A-League season.
McGlinchey, who started training with the Phoenix on Monday, wants to settle in Wellington with his young family.
''FFA continues to work with the affected parties on a daily basis in this matter to find a resolution for the benefit of all parties,'' an FFA spokesman said.
''Obviously, the preference is to find an amicable way forward but this is a complex matter. FFA understands the urgency involved for Michael McGlinchey and it may be that the matter needs to go to independent arbitration.''
McGlinchey, 27, did not play in last night's pre-season game against Upper Hutt City but Phoenix general manager David Dome said that was due to him not being match-fit, rather than concerns over insurance.
Professional Footballers Australia are strongly backing McGlinchey's right to play for the Phoenix.
On Monday, the PFA wrote to the FFA ''seeking confirmation that Michael will be registered as a player of Wellington Phoenix in accordance with his rights under FFA regulations and as a professional footballer''.
McGlinchey sought the PFA's advice following the end of his loan period with J-League club Vegalta Sendai, which followed changes to the ownership and licence of the Mariners.
The PFA advised McGlinchey he was a free agent and was entitled to sign with the club of his choice.
''Michael has since signed with Wellington Phoenix and is, in the PFA's view, permitted to train, play and partake in all activities with the A-League club in accordance with his contract.''
The Mariners are seeking legal advice in an attempt to block McGlinchey playing for the Phoenix.
- The Dominion Post
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