The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) reiterates that it will continue to pursue a timeline for introduction of a national second division, with a working title of The Championship, of 2020-21.
AAFC Chairman, Rabieh Krayem, said the AAFC “heartily endorses” the claim by Chris Nikou, FFA Chairman, at the Football Writers’ Festival on the weekend that it is important to get the model right for The Championship.
“That is why we developed a model as the means of discussion and consultation that we released in October 2017 and have sought to engage with all parts of the football community ever since,” Mr Krayem said.
“It is also why we have done substantial work, with the state federations and other stakeholders, on the financial options for a Championship competition.
“It is also why we were delighted to receive a letter from the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association in November last year in which they expressed their support for a Championship and made it clear that they were aware of the demands of Article 9 of the FIFA Statutes concerning promotion and relegation.
“The fact is when we put out our model almost 18 months ago, the official and immediate reaction from FFA was nothing but derision.
"But look at where we are today – with a new Board and a committee of all stakeholders working towards a shared commitment to introduce the Championship,” Krayem said.
Krayem said that once the initial committee work dealt with, the next step is for the relevant stakeholders to work together to set the criteria for promotion and relegation and how to make it work.
“AAFC is respectful of the A-League owners' issues. But as their own Chairman says, they face ‘an urgent task’ in addressing declining interest in the competition and ‘bringing excitement back’ to the A-League ahead of the negotiation of the next television deal that is due in 2023.
“What better way to do that than promotion and relegation? After all, it works well in England, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and elsewhere.
“As successful business men, we’re sure the A-League club owners can see that it makes sense.
“AAFC will keep advocating for an open competition structure which gives more opportunities to more male and female players to realise their potential and to give clubs the incentive to improve and grow.”