In the wake of the FFA's 'XI Principles for the future of Australian football', the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) has reiterated its calls for the speedy introduction of a national second division, as well as a major review of the structure of the game below it.
“It is not enough that the widely supported and much-awaited NSD be ‘relegated’ to the status of something to be 'considered', as it is in the XI Principles,” Galatas said.
“FFA has resolved to introduce it. Board members, executive officers and congress members alike have all endorsed it. There is no reason it should not be a key part of the document when it matures from 'living' document to fully formed policy. We will work to ensure it is so.
“The XI Principles is a good-faith start from a new, football-focused, Board and a new CEO, who has won our respect and appreciation for the way he has handled, with much success, the many problems which have confronted him in his first six months at the helm.
“Together with [FFA Chairman] Chris Nikou and his new Board, James [Johnson] and his team have instilled hope and excitement in us all. We aim to ensure that continues.”
Going to great lengths to emphasise their view that the central building block of the game was its club, the AAFC response to the XI principles calls on the FFA to “remove all shackles, burdens and restrictions imposed upon these clubs”.
However, it does this not only through its familiar calls for the linkage of the Australian football pyramid - but also through major reforms to the game’s governance.
Decrying the current model of the National Premier Leagues (NPL) competitions that the vast majority of its clubs compete in, it calls for clubs to be reinstated as members of their local federations, as well as for the suspended National NPL Review to be reconvened.
“The new governance model enacted by the Lowy administration culminated in the introduction of the NPL,” said Galatas.
“This turned our clubs into ‘NPL clubs’, effectively licenced by their member federation to participate in the highest state tier as though the federation enjoys an ‘ownership’ right over the game, enabling it to licence the game.
“AAFC is pleased that a new governance structure is under consideration as one of the XI Principles. Clubs must be reinstated as members of their federation. A democratic governance model providing for clubs to have a direct say should be enacted.