Could arguably go in expansion but Ill chuck this here because you know I love making new threads
A long-awaited national second division has moved a step closer with a white paper set to be put to the board of Football Federation Australia within the next two weeks.
The Australian has obtained a draft of the comprehensive 41-page document, which details 24 recommendations for the introduction of the second tier, likely to be known as The Championship, below the A-League in 2021.
Among the key recommendations under consideration are:
- The league be introduced by 2021;
- A 10 to 16-team competition that would allow for 25 per cent of the teams from smaller regions (depending on the eventual size of the league) to be quarantined;
- No promotion or relegation for the first two years;
- Promotion and relegation between the new competition and the tiers below it to be introduced between five and 10 years;
- Clubs limited to two foreign players each;
- Clubs to ideally have stadiums with a minimum capacity of 5000 and maximum of 15,000;
- Provide a time line “to build women’s teams attached to the second division”.
It is understood the draft has now been distributed among the various stakeholders of the game for feedback and possible changes before it is officially signed off and delivered to FFA.
In a move of great foresight, one of the more significant initiatives of the second division includes the provision to promote and expand the game’s footprint into regional towns or cities with a population of under 600,000 so that the league is not dominated by teams based in the major capital cities.
That would provide scope for the inclusion of teams from places such as Cairns and Hobart and providing a broader base to be involved in professional football.
As to who will run the competition, it is believed there are three options: FFA, which will relinquish the A-League once it becomes independent; it is run as an independent competition; or it is licensed back to the AAFC.
Among a raft of changes following the restructuring of FFA’s voting congress, the head body instigated the National Second Division Working Group late last year. It is working in parallel with the New Leagues Working Group which is looking into forming an independent A-League.
The NSDWG held its first meeting late last month but, under chairman Remo Nogarotto, who is also on the board of FFA, and Rabi Krayem, chairman of the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), has moved quickly to get the process up and running.
Under Krayem, the AAFC has been the prime mover in the push for a second division after it was first mooted in 2017. The NSDWG has sensibly opted to take a careful, detailed and steady approach to ensure it is given the best chance for success.
Much of the concern from outsiders around the implementation of the second division is the cost factor and whether it can be funded properly and without financial issues.
However, The Australian understands there is a commitment to only spend money that the competition gains from revenue, which insiders say “puts to bed people saying we can’t afford to do it”.
Significantly, the final paragraph in the white paper says they are “of the view that the commercial model should be aligned with the principle of being financially sustainable. As such, a cost structure should reflect the amount of revenues that are likely to be achieved by the NSD”.