FFA chairman Chris Nikou created a whirlwind of outrage when he appeared to say promotion was still unlikely to happen before all the current Australian A-League licences expire in 2034.

But that appeared to contradict the noises coming out of the FFA and A-League clubs in the wake of the boardroom coup that unseated Steven Lowy last November.

FFA working groups have already been set up to create a new breakaway self-governing A-League  structure and also to create a national second tier, set to be called The Championship.

While the A-League was expected to expand further under the new structure and the second tier take some time to bed in, hopes were high the new structure would see pro/rel introduced within a decade at most.

The FFA later clarified Nikou's comments - made at the weekend's Football Writer's Festival in Jamboree – saying they were just a personal view and walking back his apparent timeline.

The FFA intervention came after fellow FFA directors Remo Nogarotto and Joseph Carrozzi admitted their surprise  on Twitter at their chairman's statements.

Now the Association of Australian Football Clubs - representing the NPL clubs bidding to join the second tier and potentially the A-League - insist they still see The Championship launching in 2020...and have high hopes for promotion and relegation to follow.

The lobby group – also bidding to become a member of the FFA congress - held out an olive branch despite the weekend's confusion and said they were encouraged by the progress being made by the FFA.

AAFC Chairman Rabieh Krayem said the AAFC “heartily endorsed” other comments by Nikou over the weekend that it is vital to get the model right for The Championship.

“The fact is when we put out our model almost 18 months ago, the official and immediate reaction from FFA was nothing but derision," said Krayem.

"But look at where we are today – with a new board and a committee of all stakeholders working towards a shared commitment to introduce the Championship."

He said the model they had put together had been embraced by the A-League club owners who, Krayem said, had acknowledged the need for promotion and relegation under FIFA statutes.

The next step is now for stakeholders to work together to set the criteria for promotion and relegation and how to make it work, say the AAFC.

“AAFC is respectful of the A-League owners' issues," said Krayem.

"But as their own chairman says, they face ‘an urgent task’ in addressing declining interest in the competition and ‘bringing excitement back’ to the A-League ahead of the negotiation of the next television deal that is due in 2023.

“What better way to do that than promotion and relegation? After all, it works well in England, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and elsewhere"

He added: “As successful businessmen, we’re sure the A-League club owners can see that it makes sense.

“AAFC will keep advocating for an open competition structure which gives more opportunities to more male and female players to realise their potential and to give clubs the incentive to improve and grow.”