The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) hosted a Zoom call comprised of over 60 National Premier League clubs from around Australia to figure out the next steps in establishing a national second division (NSD).

The next steps of implementing the new division includes forming an NSD Partner Group to take firm recommendations to the Football Federation Australia (FFA) board.

At least 25 clubs with an interest in taking part in a NSD will make up the group that will take on the tasks on finalising a detailed design, modelling and criteria development which will form the basis of consultation with football’s stakeholder groups and submission to the FFA Board.

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AAFC Chairman Nick Galatas said that attitudes towards forming an NDS have changed in recent times.

“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,” Mr Galatas said.

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Matters still to be finalised with FFA in accordance with its XI Principles document, as well as other stakeholders:

  • The merits of a national vs conference based league
  • How promotion and relegation will be implemented from tiers below a NSD
  • Viability of a NSD for women – a measure supported by AAFC
  • How clubs will be selected into the initial season of the NSD
  • Summer vs winter season (alignment with the A-League)
  • Appropriate governance and administration of the league.

Mr Galatas said an NSD will give smaller clubs something to aspire to and elevate the quality of football in Australia.

“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,” he said.

The final report to the FFA Board will be submitted before November 2020 with hopes to get the NSD up and running by 2022.