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FFA unveils plan for football growth
Football Federation Australia (FFA) has released a 'National Plan for the Whole of Football', setting out how the FFA, state federations, Hyundai A-League, semi-professional and grassroots clubs will build football in Australia.
Unveiling the plan, FFA Chief Executive David Gallop explained how he wants the momentum sparked by the Westfield FFA Cup to bring all of football's stakeholders together and build the game.
With the Westfield FFA Cup and PS4 National Premier Leagues helping the FFA and Hyundai A-League to reconnect with football's lower tiers, Gallop believes it is the ideal time to reassess the sport's progress.
Making his State of the Game address in Sydney on Thursday (18th September) Gallop stated "I've come to understand that Australian football suffers from a burden of opportunity.
"It's the reality we see today - the game has a huge growth trajectory and massive potential, but we don't always have the capital, the resources and the structures to harvest the opportunity.
"To put it another way, we have many mouths to feed, but rarely do we have enough to go around.
“We could sit and wait for things to change, and certainly the game will continue to grow if we were to continue our current course, but leadership demands more of us at FFA.
"The National Plan for the Whole of Football will not be an overnight fix, and it will take longer than the next four-year World Cup cycle."
The FFA will conduct a nationwide consultation process over the next couple of months with the plan to publish their new blueprint after the AFC Asian Cup, which will be held in Australia in January.
While individual spot-fires continue to intermittently flare around active fan governance and engagement with state league clubs, Gallop insisted there is 'a unity of purpose' in Australian football.
He added "it's the right time (for the Plan) because we're starting to build momentum (and we need to) make the most of that momentum.”
Youth development is at the heart of the Plan, with the FFA wanting Australia to be a regional leader in Asia in terms of producing footballers.
Gallop declared the FFA are close to announcing a new national technical director to replace Han Berger, while revealing the candidate will be tasked with improving Australia's ability to develop young players even further.
However, Gallup insisted Hyundai A-League expansion is a longer-term plan, claiming sustainability as a 10-team competition is more important at this stage.
He concluded "there are still some potholes there and we need to fill those in, get ourselves to a point where we are truly sustainable with that 10-team comp and then look to expand.
"But there's no doubt that it'll be an issue that will come up in this exercise because a 10-team comp is not big enough.
"We have to accept that not everyone has the market that others have got," he added.
"Certainly, I see expansion as something where you need to fish where the fish are. Go where the biggest opportunities are and the biggest opportunities are where millions of people live, not hundreds of thousands of people live."
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