More than 60 NPL clubs from around Australia joined a Zoom meeting of the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) to find out about next steps in the establishment of a national second division (NSD).
Encouraged by recent statements from Board members and the CEO of Football Federation Australia (FFA), club representatives at the meeting expressed strong interest in progressing to the next steps of implementation which includes a NSD Partner Group to take firm recommendations to the FFA Board.
The NSD Partner Group will comprise at least 25 clubs with an interest in taking part in a NSD to finalise detailed design, modelling and criteria development which form the basis of consultation with football’s stakeholder groups and submission to the FFA Board.
AAFC Chairman, Nick Galatas, said that while a lot of work has already been done on these issues, the environment has also changed.
“The coronavirus pandemic has been a significant factor in changing the environment of sport generally, but particularly community and professional football.
“We also now have a Board and senior management group at FFA who are more football-savvy and want to see a NSD succeed. That’s in sharp contrast to the immediate view when we launched our initial discussion paper almost three years ago,” Galatas said.
The clubs heard that a number of matters are still to be finalised with FFA in accordance with its XI Principles document, as well as other stakeholders, including:
“I think everyone agrees that NSD is no longer in the realm of ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’ as an important means of improving the quality and level of football, but also our credentials and viability as a football nation,” Galatas said.
“A NSD gives all clubs that are interested in it something to aspire to.
“It will help smaller clubs that are not interested in a NSD taking part in a competition that is more relevant to them at state level. It will help galvanise football fans around the country. It will expand our national footprint. It helps the code put more pressure on all levels of government for funding support. And it gives a potential ‘FFA TV’ – as advocated by The Golden Generation – more quality content that connects all levels of the game.”
Galatas said the final report to the FFA Board will be submitted before November 2020 with a view to implementation of the NSD by 2022.
The presentation given by Nick Galatas to the meeting is available here.
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