Former strategist and co-founder of the Australian Association of Football Clubs (AAFC) Tom Kalas says the A-League model created by the PFA and FFA was flawed and ignored the grassroots.
It’s been a dramatic ascension for the AAFC who in the space of 13 months have announced a proposal to introduce a national second tier and are now part of the ongoing congress discussions.
When FIFA handed down their Terms of Reference for the Congress Review Working Group last week it stated the AAFC be included whenever the representation of NPL clubs in football governance structures were discussed.
Kalas was in the room when FIFA came to Australia last year to help sort the ongoing Congress malaise and said the world governing body were surprised Australian football had only one professional tier.
“The first question FIFA asked us (the AAFC) in August last year was why there wasn’t a second division in Australia?’ he told FourFourTwo.
“We explained that it’s because fundamentally the FFA have built a closed private franchise model that has by its very nature and structure, inhibited a second division like other countries have.
“Our code’s administrators instead of focusing on building assets such as facilities, and boutique stadiums and growing football culture, instead have blown hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 14 years on a very expensive first division model whose only beneficiaries are the small number of professional players paid to play in the A-League."
Kalas explained how the PFA and FFA model designed in 2004 had massive repercussion for the game below the A-League.
“The Member Federation administration costs, player costs, stadium costs are out of wack to the level of our code’s current evolution,” he said.
“On top of that we have starved the tiers below with no transfer fees, no linkages (promotion/relegation) and allowed an atrophy to occur which will bite us all in years to come.”