Discussions are officially underway to form an Australian “Championship”, with members of the National Second Division Working Group (NSDWG) meeting for the first time today.
Representatives of the Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC), Member Federations, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and FFA were in attendance to deliberate on the key design principles of a fully professional tier below the A-League.
Socceroos Coach Graham Arnold was also present, touting the positive impact a National Second Division would have on youth development.
The AAFC, long-time proponents of a second tier, say they are “100% confident” it will go ahead.
“We’re not here to spend another 12 months going through circles,” AAFC Chairman Rabieh Krayem told FTBL.
“Our aim is the same, can we make it happen by 2020? I’m 100% confident.
“Someone said to me, ‘How can you afford a second division?’. I said we can’t afford not to have one. We are 100% confident this can get up for season 2020/21 of the A-League.”
FFA Director and NSDWG Chair Remo Nogarotto voiced his appreciation after the meeting.
“On behalf of FFA, 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.
“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.
The next step is for the Working Group to compile a whitepaper which outlines the blueprint for a National Second Division competition in Australia,” said Nogarotto.
The NSDWG will work in parallel with the New Leagues Working Group, to ensure there is integration with the planned pathway to an independent A-League.