The calls for a National Second Division get louder every week and rightly so.
Not only has the A-League been crying out for it – but it could act as the solution towards bridging the professional game and the grassroots.
It will provide youth with an additional platform as well as providing fans with more high-quality domestic football and greater competitive stakes.
The future may be exciting but the discussion for a second division is not without its questions.
Who would be involved?
The need for a national second division is something everyone agrees on.
But deciding who gets to be involved is another matter altogether.
Whether it will be made up of existing clubs – those of whom were prominent during the National Soccer League – or whether it will consist of additional consortia.
Part of the recent expansion process consisted of analysing whether each bid would be content with entering the A-League via a second division – a question which received mixed responses.
In addition to deciding who gets to take part – there is the question of how many teams will the second tier be made up of and whether there is any room to expand.
How professional would the division be?
In what has become the million-dollar question – would the existing semi-professional clubs be able to make the step up?
Clubs will have to maintain solid attendances at the very least to be financially sustainable – not to mention securing the additional investment and employment of full-time staff.
How financially viable a professional second division really is remains to be seen – given there are not many existing NPL clubs capable of immediately making that jump.
Albeit, these clubs will be given the chance to solidify themselves within the professional sphere as it seems unlikely promotion and relegation will be introduced for some time.
Creating a second-tier where most – if not all – the clubs will be professional will take time and is a factor the Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC) have acknowledged.
Will the people come?
The launch of the second division will be a historic day in Australian sport.
It could well and truly be the answer towards uniting ‘old soccer & new football’ should traditional NSL powerhouses – now NPL clubs – be granted entry.
There is no question crowds will be positive in the league’s inception – but moving forward what would be considered a pass for attendances?
After 21 A-League rounds this season the average league attendance sits at 10,670 – a disappointing figure.
Crowds will be an important source of revenue for second division clubs and while many of the clubs will have loyal existing supporters – the task in enticing new fans to support a second tier club remains.