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19 Jan 2018 16:20
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Soccer

    We can fund national second tier: AAFC

    The lobby group pushing for a national second division of soccer is confident it can make the ambitious plans a reality.


    The lobby group pushing for a national second division to sit underneath the A-League is confident its numbers will stack up financially.

    But Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) has warned the devil will be in the detail, despite offering tentative support to the concept.

    The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) released a blueprint last Friday for 'The Championship', its preferred model for a new competition it hopes will be up and running by October 2019.

    It would consist of between 12 and 16 clubs drawn from the current state-league ranks with a view to eventually incorporating promotion to and relegation from the A-League.

    Crucially, AAFC claims it won't need a single dollar in funding from FFA or anyone else to make it work.

    Football Federation Australia moved quickly to describe the plan as unrealistic, although CEO David Gallop is understood to have invited AAFC Rabieh Krayem to FFA offices in the near future to take him through the proposal.

    FFA needs to sanction 'The Championship' for it to become a reality.

    Several stakeholders are heavily skeptical of how AAFC's proposed budget of $2.5 million per club can account for all the costs associated with a home-and-away season for national men's and women's competitions run concurrently.

    It stipulates a salary cap of $1 million to cover wages for a maximum of 40 men's and women's players - averaging out to $25,000 per player, which is less than half of the current A-League minimum wage.

    It also calls for an annual licence fee of $150,000 per club, which would be used to cover the administrative costs of running the competition.

    Those numbers fall a long way short of PFA modelling released earlier this year, which said it would cost $5.5 million per annum to run a fully professional second-tier club, as well as league operating costs of $10-$12 million.

    But Krayem believes the numbers can add up.

    "In all the consultation work we've done... we believe that is enough," he told AAP.

    "(And) we think there's new money to bring into the game that doesn't exist today.

    "Most of our clubs who (will) potentially put their hand up for a licence already have the infrastructure in place.

    Krayem said clubs would pool $300,000 each per season to cover travel and accommodation costs.

    He also said the proposal was intended as a starting point for discussion and likely to change depending on feedback.

    PFA chief executive John Didulica told AAP: "Conceptually everyone sees a huge benefit of growing football's footprint and adding another level of professionalism."

    "The challenge will be the detail, and once you actually start developing the detail, you need to see if it works and achieves the objectives it needs to achieve."


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