Melbourne Knights are the first club to express interest for a National Second Division but disagree with the proposed structure of the competition.
The National Second Division Working Group whitepaper suggested the division should “identify large geographical areas” where there are large participation rates and interest in football.
Moreover, the white paper recommends the division be made up of a minimum of eight clubs with promotion and relegation being integrated through two five-year phases.
In contrast, the Knights suggest – in their own white paper – the second division be made up of 12 teams from the beginning and immediate promotion and relegation between the second division and ‘NPL 1’, with the A-League to be involved once it reaches 14 teams.
“It is within this section, that the greatest disagreement and clear opposing viewpoints arise – viewpoints which cannot truly be wedded,” the whitepaper said.
“Ideally a NSD should be made up of a minimum of 12 teams in year/ season one. There must be immediate promotion and relegation with the NPLs around Australia to and from the NSD.
“Promotion into the A-league based primarily but not entirely on sporting merit should begin within 5 years of the NSD starting.
“This would mean by winning the NSD a club would have the right to demonstrate that it is able to meet the reasonably set and published criteria for A-league participation.
“We reject the idea of phased protection with an incubation period and then promotion and relegation.”
Further, the Knights recommend the competition run simultaneously to the A-League so it does not interfere with junior and state competitions.
“The NSD competition season must coincide with the A-league season calendar to maximise the ability to attract crowds,” it said.
“Not being in competition with clubs’ own juniors, feeder clubs and the clear calendar in summer are obviously major factors in the ability to draw spectators.”