National second division edges closer to reality
FFA national second division working group in 'furious agreement' to forge ahead01 March 2019 | FT Editor
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Hopes are high that a national second tier competion is now more of a reality than an aspiration, after a national second division working group meeting chaired by FFA Board member, Remo Nogarotto yesterday.
Initially proposed by the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) in October 2017, a national second division is seen by most as an essential element of football development.
This was reinforced yesterday by the presence of Socceroos head coach, Graham Arnold, at the working group meeting who is known to be a keen supporter of the proposal.
Yesterday's meeting resulted in “furious agreement” that a national second division - dubbed The Championship by AAFC in 2017 - would be a reality, with the key questions around timing, the financial modelling, and linkages with broader issues of broadcasting and sponsorship arrangements for both the A-League and FFA to be finalised. The issue of promotion and relegation was also discussed with agreement in principle.
The working group, which included all state member federations, A-League club representatives, the PFA and, of course, the AAFC and Nogarotto agreed that a smaller working group would finalise a model by the end of March, consistent with the timetable for the New Leagues Working Group (NLWG).
The smaller working group will include AAFC, PFA, two state member federations, FFA and former FFA Board candidate, Judith Griggs, who is chairing the NLWG.
AAFC Chairman, Rabieh Krayem, who along with a small group of the AAFC Board has driven the push for a national second tier competition, said he was still hopeful that implementation could happen from 2020-21.
“We have not changed our timelines from when we first published our preferred model almost 18 months ago, and we'll keep working towards that - although of course mindful of broader issues.”
In relation to promotion and relegation, Krayem said no-one disagreed with it, but it's a question of how to make it work within Australia's existing system. Krayem said he would characterise promotion and relegation as a “when not if”.
Nogarotto said that he was pleased with the level of agreement at the meeting.
“I’m delighted that discussions regarding the establishment of a national second division have now commenced. There was a real sense of energy and unity of purpose from those in the room to align the various tiers of football to create wider pathways for players, coaches, referees and clubs. I would like to thank all stakeholders that were in attendance” said Nogarotto.
“There is a lot of work to happen in a short space of time. That said, a lot of good work has already been done by AAFC, PFA and FFA which will allow us to move quite quickly,” said Nogarotto.
second division, the championship, ffa, aafc, npl