Even though former NSL clubs like Sydney Olympic and Melbourne Knights have aspirations to be part of the A-League, FFA CEO David Gallop says that introducing Promotion and Relegation would provide uncertainly to the current A-League clubs.
All the A-League clubs - besides Wellington Phoenix - currently have 20 year licenses that run through to 2034, making Promotion and Relegation being introduced before that time an uncertain prospect.
While Gallop did say that having an open league may occur in the future, the FFA CEO admitted that introducing such a system is not on the agenda at the moment.
“Promotion and relegation raises its own pluses and minuses,” Gallop said.
“Of course because the investment that our owners make is critical to the A-League developments for us to place uncertainty around that investment would not be the right thing to do at the moment.
“But again we are conscious of the bigger NPL clubs and their aspirations and we’ve done things in the last couple of years like the FFA Cup like the NPL structure across where we are looking to bridge that gaps between A-League clubs and the clubs below. And ultimately promotion and relegation there may well be a right time for that but we have to be very conscious of the investment our current owners have made.”
But former NSL club Melbourne Knights believe that having an open league is vital and introducing a second tier below the A-League where teams can be promoted should be done much earlier than when current club owners licenses expire in 20 years
“It is imperative that the Governing body plans for the introduction of promotion and relegation in the A-League,” a club spokesperson said. “Whether the date for implementation is three, five or ten years from now – it is essential that this decision is made and followed through.
“The question of a national second division is of vital importance to the future of the sport in Australia. If we allow the A-League to continue to push away in quality from the State National Premier Leagues, we will continue to struggle to churn our players of a suitable quality for our national teams.
“Having a national second division is the most viable way in which Australian soccer can function for the years to come. It is unfathomable that the Governing body doesn’t see - or doesn’t believe in - the benefits that could be had from a national second division. Implementing a complete football pyramid is ideologically and philosophically the most appropriate system for football.
Chris Tsioulos, Chairman of NSW NPL side Sydney Olympic. says that if a second tier was created underneath the A-League then the former NSL side would be ready to join in five years.
“I would dare say that we would,” he said. “We’ve achieved a lot in the last five years and we are continuing to move ahead in an arena which doesn’t have the exposure that a B-League would.
“If there was a clear cut pathway for our club to move into that level of exposure there would be lots of organisations who would seriously consider supporting the club. As long as the club was set up in an appropriate and contemporary fashion to protect itself.”
- Con Stamocostas is an Australian football writer. Click here to see more of his work and check out the latest episode of his A-League Snobcast with co-host Rob Toddler.
Get the latest issue of FourFourTwo Magazine. Featuring a story on the A-League's Relegation Battle do we go UP or Down?1 comment