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Possible New Division for Australian Football

The Football Federation of Australian, today released a white paper about creating a National Second Division in the country reports today.

The Chairman Chris Nikou said that the new division should underpin the principles of the FFA. “The development of a blueprint for a National Second Division, which all stakeholders are aligned with is critical to better connect the various levels and pathways throughout the Australian football ecosystem. There is a general consensus between the stakeholders involved in this process, the Association of Australian Football Clubs, Professional Footballers Australia, Member Federations and FFA that a sustainable National Second Division would be a significant step forward for football,”

The purpose of the white paper was to show that the way forward had to be well researched, but that is was possible to do so. “It is not intended to be definitive on the structure and operational aspects of any National Second Division, but rather to reflect the discussions that have taken place and consolidate a vast body of work that has already been done,”

The second division is proposed for the 2021/22 season, but it needs to be financially sustainable and provide the relevant pathways for professional footballers in Australia. It needs to have a well-developed road map that outlines not only the way to financially start the second division, but also how to maintain that stability going forward as well as securing broadcasting and commercial aspects of the league. They also suggested that a steering committee for the new division be created in order to provide leadership and development as the league gets off the ground.

The director of the FFA, Remo Nogarotto, led the working group that drafted the paper after being formed to look into the possibility of creating the second national division. He wants the league to realise the vision of the FFA to widen and deepen pathways for all aspects of the game, clubs, players, referees, officials everything.

He said “Once established, we believe a National Second Division would provide an opportunity for football to broaden its reach to be a truly national game. It also has the potential to build a bridge between state-based National Premier Leagues and the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League and heal some divisions that have held the game back. Over the last 15 years, football has made great progress; however, there remain strong elements within our sport that feel marginalised. For Australian football to reach its potential, all elements of the game must pull in a single direction.”

He also went on to say that the most tricky aspect of development of the new league would be establishing the methodology for promotion and relegation between the two division. It is important to get this right as otherwise, clubs will feel hard done by the split.

“If a second-tier competition in the purest form is the objective - one that not only opens up a new pathway for talented footballers but also differentiates our game from other football codes - then a system of promotion and relegation should be considered over the longer term, “ he went on to say.