Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) Chairman Rabieh Krayem says each state will be represented in the 'The Championship' competition with the aim of 16 clubs playing in a proposed second tier.
Today the AAFC released its proposed second division to be running by 2019/20 with the intention of promotion/relegation aligned with the A-League by 2024/25.
Krayem told FourFourTwo that today’s announcement was a huge moment for the round ball game in Australia.
“Today is a very much a ground-breaking day for football,” he said.
“It’s about taking the game to another level. Most importantly it is going to create a 16-team competition which will generate another 320 positions for male and 320 positions for female players that don’t exist today.
“That is the most exciting part.”
The AAFC represents 120 National Premier League clubs across Australia and Krayem believes that every state will be able to take part in the proposed second tier competition.
“Early indications show that that there will be representation across the board nationally,” he said.
“Our model is for a national championship so every state is represented. So that will come down to when the expressions of interest come out and the model that will be dictated by clubs that show an interest.”
Today’s announcement comes as A-League clubs, State Member Federations and the PFA are deadlocked about the make-up of FFA’s Congress.
However, Krayem is adamant that the second tier will have the backing of all the major figures in Australian football.
“We have no doubt that with the consultation process that we will have the support of all the stakeholders in the game including the FFA," he said.
“The main thing is that the paper is out and now there is a lot of work to happen with the consultation process.
“Obviously there’s the three major stakeholders, the State Federations, the A-League clubs and the PFA. We’ve had positive dialogue with those parties and obviously the attention will be in discussing the details over the coming months as we sit down and come up with a model that the football community says is the best model.
“There is no doubt there is an appetite within the football community for a second-tier competition.”
One of the AAFC’s hopes is that the winner of The Championship will be given a spot in the Asian Champions League even though only the League or Cup winners in Asia’s top tiers are granted that honour.
Even so Krayem believes it’s worthwhile pursuing.
“It’s about having a carrot there for the competition," he said.
“We will make those enquires about it. As it’s a standalone competition, we therefore think there is an opportunity to be given a spot in the AFC.
“We will be pushing for it and over the next three months there will be a lot of consultation with that process.
“The key to this is that we have a paper out there that will encourage discussion and it is open for discussion.
"Importantly, we are going to be talking about football and we not going to be talking about structures and the Congress.
“This is about the most positive thing that can happen in football and now there is document out there that clearly defines a process in relation to how a second tier can happen.”