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New body formed to represent aspirations of Australia’s second-tier football clubs
A group of clubs competing in football’s National Premier Leagues (NPL) have come together to map a path to implementing necessary improvements to the structure of the game in Australia.
Dissatisfied with aspects of how Football Federation Australia (FFA) manages the game, the Association of Australian Football Clubs Ltd (AAFC) held its inaugural meeting of clubs last night (20th March).
Held at a packed Sports House at Albert Park, Melbourne last night, the meeting was their first opportunity to meet, share their concerns, experiences and knowledge and look to “necessary improvements to the structure of the game in Australia”.
With the AAFC representing almost 100 NPL clubs from around the country, clubs from around the country were present and represented at last night’s meeting.
Together, they unanimously endorsed AAFC to represent their interests and nominated delegates from each State to ensure that the organisation is an effective national body.
Last week, the group's spokesperson Tom Kalas told Goal that the AAFC was interested in more than just voting rights on FFA's set-to-be expanded Congress, claiming that NPL clubs wanted to be a "consultative, professional and measured voice" for the benefit of Australian football.
However, the message from last night’s meeting was that the representative body should get a seat at FFA's Congress.
A statement from the AAFC advised “the overwhelming message from the clubs to AAFC has been that their priority is to secure formal representation, as a special interest group, at the forthcoming FFA General Congress as well as a permanent seat.
"These clubs field approximately 30,000 players who have been identified for elite development under FFA's NPL model.
"Only with direct formal representation at the FFA table will the distinct and important interests of the NPL clubs be properly represented."
The AAFC’s objectives are to:
1. Immediately pursue representation at the FFA Congress;
2. Develop a model for a Second Division to be implemented by the earliest, 2018/19 season, with a timeline and plan for its full integration with the A League including promotion and relegation;
3. Investigate opportunities for reductions to operating costs and increases to revenue and revenue streams to ensure financial viability while reducing the cost of junior participation at this level;
4. Review and propose changes to the finance model and competition structure to unlock revenue streams and ensure compensation for players it develops is fair and readily secured;
5. Build relationships at national, state and local levels in respect of facilities, sponsorship, grants and commercial opportunities;
6. Facilitate knowledge-sharing among its members through networking and sharing of information.
The AAFC also says that it will engage constructively with FFA, A-League clubs, the Professional Footballers Association, State Federations and other key stakeholders to achieve its aims which it considers will benefit the game as a whole.
For more information on the AAFC go to www.australianfootballclubs.org.au
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