FFA chief executive David Gallop has branded Tim Cahill's scathing criticisms as "off the mark", revealing he himself contacted the Socceroos striker this week about a prospective move to the A-League only to be rejected because they could not meet his asking price.
In the wake of his shock axing by Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua on Tuesday, Cahill launched a savage condemnation of FFA's handling of both the A-League and the Australian national team.
The 36-year-old said he had "never closed the door" on his home competition, despite his agent confirming this week he was set to join another Chinese Super League side.
But Cahill concluded the A-League's lack of "vision" would only hurt his career, citing its failure to attract big-name footballers and lack of strategy to capitalise on the few world-class players that did come.
"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," Cahill told News Corp Australia.
"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.
"Del Piero was one of the biggest things to ever happen to the game, but also the worst because it wasn't capitalised on."
Behind the scenes FFA are incredulous and bewildered at the attack from such a prominent member of the Socceroos.
At least publicly, Gallop was unemotional.
He disputed some of Cahill's remarks, saying FFA had a "clear 20-year vision" along with a shorter-term strategy that will provide growth and financial stability.
The FFA boss also said numerous parties tried to sign the Australian forward after learning of his availability, but could simply not afford the fee he wanted.
"We contacted Tim and his advisers immediately when we heard he was not going to be part of Shanghai any longer," Gallop said.
"A number of our clubs also contacted him immediately. I personally was in contact with him. "He made it clear immediately that we couldn't meet his needs."
Cahill also criticised the fact that the Socceroos 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," he said.
"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."