Promotion and relegation could be introduced sooner than anticipated following the proposals set out in the National Second Division Working Group white paper.
While the recommendations are to be reviewed by a steering committee – who will present their findings to the Football Federation Australia board by late November – a potential timeline has been set for promotion and relegation.
The timeline has promotion and relegation being introduced in year five, albeit between the National Second Division and ‘NPL 1’ before involving the A-League.
The report outlined a process which is divided into two five-year phases, with the intention to introduce promotion and relegation at a time when all clubs are stable in their respective divisions.
According to the report there would be no promotion or relegation within the first five year phase, which would prepare clubs – who are deemed eligible – to be considered for the next round of expansion into the A-League.
FFA board member Remo Nogarotto says the first phase is also designed to allow clubs to work towards achieving financial stability.
“It’s been broken down into two very clear windows,” he said.
“The zero-to-five year window is one which allows these second division clubs to get their economic footing in place, be able to deliver a sustainable business model.
“This is also their incubation window if some of them want to step up and put their hand up for A-league expansion all well and good.
“If ever there is a football code which can make a national second division work it’s ours.”
In addition, the report recommends the Second Division be given a two-year period whereby it can consider introducing new teams into the division – as well as allowing existing teams to consolidate themselves.
Promotion into the A-League – according to the report’s timeline – would be considered and introduced at “an appropriate point during this second window.”
“The five to ten year window is when we have a realistic conversation around the more difficult subjects around promotion and relegation above and from below,” Mr Nogarotto said.
“Football people understand that a second tier is in the interests of its game and football people romantically if nothing else, all know we should all aspire to promotion and relegation.”