The man who controversially axed ethnic teams in the former NSL says FFA’s expansion criteria makes it difficult for migrant backed clubs to get into the A-League.
During the mid 90’s former chairman of Soccer Australia, David Hill replaced ethnic clubs in the former NSL with Perth Glory, Northern Spirit, and AFL backed teams Carlton and Collingwood.
Hill dumped ethnic backed clubs such as Heidelberg, Brunswick and Parramatta Melita because they failed to meet criteria based on crowds, facilities and financial viability.
With two new clubs set to join the A-League in 2019/20, Hill said some NPL clubs may struggle to meet FFA's requirements but added if their bid is compelling they should be admitted.
“The A-League criteria still makes it difficult for one of the migrant based clubs to get into the A-League,” he said.
“But I just think if they are good enough then they should go into the A-League. If they don’t get the support, they won’t be financially viable and they will go down again.
“You still have to have criteria and provided the clubs meet the criteria they also have to have broad community appeal.”
Hill still doesn’t back away from his decision to axe the ethnic clubs in the mid 1990’s from the NSL when under his reign Soccer Australia attempted to broaden football’s supporter base.
“Australian fans just felt like they didn’t belong,” he said.
“The great thing about Australian sport and supporters of Australian sport is they feel a sense of belonging and ownership.
“Non-Greeks didn’t feel that about Sydney Olympic. Non-Croatians didn’t feel that about Sydney United and non-Italians didn’t feel that way about Marconi.
“That’s why 90% plus of their support base was Greek, Croatian and Italian and it was never going to broaden from that.”
Hill also feel that as well as expansion FFA should adopt a model that connects all the tiers of Australian football together.
“Now the A-League has got maturity I believe we have to go promotion and relegation," he said.
“I was a supporter of promotion and relegation then. It reenergises every league and creates more opportunities.
“There should also be new clubs in the A-League and the obvious places are Sydney and Melbourne. You have half the Australian population and there is room for third teams in both those two cities.
“Moving to promotion and relegation needn’t be necessarily automatic bottom teams down and top teams up.
“You could have a round robin at the end of each season the bottom teams of the A-League play the top teams of the state leagues and out of the that tournament the top teams go up.
“Much as the secondary positions in the English Championship go up to the Premier League.”