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AAFC Board kicks off plan for national expansion of FFA competitions

AAFC Board kicks off plan for national expansion of FFA competitions
July 16, 2017

A national second division for men and women, representation at the FFA Congress, a national strategy roadshow, a national summit for member clubs of the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) next year, and a commitment to reduce the cost of coaching accreditation and playing for children, are among the key outcomes of the inaugural meeting of the newly-elected board of the AAFC which met in Brisbane over the weekend.

Commenting on the outcomes, AAFC Chairman Rabieh Krayem stated “there are remarkable similarities between the states in the concerns of NPL (National Premier League) clubs, as well as some state-to-state differences.

“What we’re focussed on as a group is what we can do to help the game grow nationally.”

Krayem said that some of the issues canvassed include the cost for children to play, the availability and standard of facilities around the country, the regulatory restrictions on clubs, the financial viability and sustainability of clubs, and the establishment of a national second division.

He explained “we know that so many players and fans are interested in a second division, and we really appreciate the input we received from many people about this issue. It shows just how passionate people are, and that’s a good thing.”

Krayem said the AAFC considered three possible models for the operation of a second division and will spend the next three months consulting further on those models.

He added “we intend to talk with all stakeholders, as well as complete some financial modelling from independent experts, ahead of publishing a report on the preferred model by the end of October.

“Importantly, we agreed that a second division will be put in place for both men and women.

“The AAFC board is unanimous in its view that young women players should be given the same opportunity to develop their game as young men.

“We believe that giving more young more players more game time will only benefit Australian football - the NPL, a second division, the A-League and the national teams.”

Krayem added that not all of AAFC’s members wish to be involved in a second division, but have expressed a range of other concerns, the key one of which revolves around the cost of playing, and the impact in some states of the introduction of ‘A-League Juniors’ within the NPL framework.

He continued “we will be consulting further with our member clubs on these, and other issues, over the coming months.”

This will involve a national strategy roadshow with member clubs, state federations and A-League clubs; intelligence-gathering to better understand cost structures and a national conference in the early part of next year to exchange information and best practice.

The AAFC Board also resolved to pursue representation at the FFA Congress as part of the consultation to take place in Australia with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation later this month.

Krayem concluded “we’re all volunteers, representing more than 30,000 players, thousands more volunteers, and managing significant community facilities.

“We want to work with FFA, the state federations, the A-League clubs and, importantly our members, their players and football fans, to do what’s best for football.”

The Board also welcomed the appointment of Nick Galatas of GPZ Legal as Legal and Regulatory Advisor to the Board, on the same voluntary basis as the AAFC Board.

Image: Football NSW National Premier League 2017 season action (top - courtesy of Football NSW) and Rabieh Krayem (below).

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