The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) has today released its long-awaited report of its national consultation with member clubs.
The report, which also acts as the AAFC’s position paper on the state of football in Australia as it impacts on AAFC’s members, the national premier league clubs, after five years of the National Premier League (NPL) competition.
“During our national consultations, there were three recurring themes raised with us,” said AAFC Chairman, Rabieh Krayem.
“The high cost of junior fees, the high cost of coaching education, and the role of the NPL competition in elite player development. This latter point includes the thorny issue of compensation, especially in the light of the relatively recent establishment of A-League academies.”
The report finds that the NPL was established with a positive intent which remains broadly supported by most of the football community, but that implementation has been inconsistent, lacked cohesion and undertaken in silos by state-based member federations, with little apparent coordination and consistency.
“Our members are also concerned about the notion of ‘elite’ pathway development,” Krayem explained.
“The notion has been diluted by the large number and rapid expansion of NPL clubs and the inclusion of HAL teams in youth and senior NPL competitions.
“The original objectives of the NPL are not being met and there is a strong disconnect within football between NPL clubs, the FFA and state-based member federations.
“Put bluntly, AAFC’s member clubs are increasingly and alarmingly disillusioned with the direction of, and their role in, the NPL competition.
“Yet there is significant intellectual and other capital that exist within the NPL clubs that is being untapped and which our members would like to see utilised and appreciated,” said Krayem.
AAFC has made three threshold recommendations in an attempt to address the issues they raise:
As well as being shared with AAFC members, the report has been sent to FFA and the state-based member federations. It can also be downloaded at the AAFC website.
Krayem said he hopes that the report is the basis for a constructive dialogue about the future of the NPL with football’s stakeholders, which is also cognisant and complementary of the joint AAFC/FFA working group on establishment of a national second division.
You can read it on-screen below or download a copy here.