A-League promotion-relegation still 'a few years away'

The chief proponents of an A-League promotion-relegation model admit that turning the blueprint into reality may still be some years off.

A-League logo and match ball

Source: Getty Images

Calls for a national second tier competition are resonating loudly, with the newly formed Australian Association of Football Clubs at the vanguard of a movement which aims to have one up and running by 2018-2019.

But its chairman Rabieh Krayem - former CEO of short-lived A-League franchise North Queensland Fury - has moved to keep aspirations of promotion-relegation in check.

"Of course that's the ultimate goal but I feel we're a few years away from that yet," said Krayem ahead of the 120-club strong AAFC's first board meeting this weekend.

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"You have to learn to walk first. We have to initially set up a sustainable second tier competition.

"You have to be realistic ... we have to work alongside the existing A-League clubs and the FFA to pursue this goal.

"It's no use me saying we'd like to see it happen in a couple of years when we haven't had those discussions (with the game's other stakeholders)."



Krayem, though, insists that the model which pervades world football ultimately being adopted in Australia is in "the best interests of the game".

"When exactly that will happen is it too early to talk about right now," he said.

"Once you have an established second tier then comes the broader discussion of 'is it viable'? Is it feasible? And what does promotion-relegation look like can be had."

Krayem and his board, all volunteers from across the NPL, are reluctant to fuel the political firestorms assailing FFA over the broadening of its congress amid the stated threat from FIFA of potentially stepping in to enforce reform.

He does, however, believe the AAFC should be granted voting rights for future FFA boards once reforms are finally enacted.

"We want to be consulted and believe we are a key stakeholder and therefore should have representation in the congress," he declared.



How the second tier might look will be a hot topic this weekend, with various models being discussed by the existing NPL clubs - such as dual conferences to negate prohibitive travel costs.

"You only get one shot at this and you want to make sure you get it right the first time," said Krayem. "It's not a matter of 'will there be a second tier national competition?'

"It's a matter of when and just how it's structured.

"A lot of work has already been done on a number of models.

"The infrastructure is already there, and we are certainly not trying to compete with the A-League.

"What we are talking about is a semi-professional second-tier competition and potentially 500 extra players given an opportunity to play at a higher level than they are at the moment.

"We are in the business of developing pathways for players and trying to capitalise the game to take it to the next level."


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3 min read
Published 11 July 2017 at 7:22pm
By Dave Lewis