Football Alive

Expansion, where to from here for everyone else?

Social media has exploded into anger and apathy with regards to the expansion decision process with many lamenting the lack of foresight in snubbing the capital yet again.

In fairness, both bids that were accepted look to have fine credentials, SWS is undoubtedly a major growth area and if Campbelltown and its environs were 50 kilometers away from Sydney would represent a city in the making that will eclipse Adelaide and Perth in size in the next generation.

The Western Melbourne bid also looks to be an olive branch to Geelong as well as a decentralisation of Football from AAMI, both major positives geographically and will hopefully reach its potential with the mooted grandiose developments it has promised.

But this cant mask the fact that the A-League may have got larger but it hasn’t in truth expanded, we haven’t seen Football stretch its wings and with only one new city on offer in this round, namely Canberra, many had hoped to see that bid come to fruition.

Its snubbing has brought up many old wounds with both Tasmania and indeed the Wollongong Wolves shelved bids coming back into focus in the forums. The former was a little fanciful but would have shown idealism in bringing our code to a neglected sporting backwater, the latter, as I have written repetitively, would have righted the wrongs of Modern Football which so erroneously left the former NSL Champions out of the new cartel.

So what to do from here?

Quite simply, the establishment of a national second division is now a priority that cannot be overlooked any further, I would hope and encourage the Association of Australian Football Clubs to move independently on this, set up the Championship as it has been dubbed and then start lobbying for teams 13 through to 16 to come from its ranks.

We have seen that next year we will move to and 11 team competition, the year after 12, whilst there have been statements of the competition not being truncated to a 22 game league do not believe everything that comes out of the NRL… ahem, I mean the FFA’s mouths.

If we don’t have something which forces the FFA’s hand at expanding the game there is a very real risk we will see far less Football for an extended period.

By establishing a national second division the clubs for expansion will be on offer in full view, then we can see an approach whereby we push for 1 club promoted per year with no relegation until the competition reaches 16 teams, that would be in 6 years time.

If clubs cant stave off relegation with 6 newer and smaller clubs in the competition then they simply don’t deserve to be playing top flight Football. As teams are promoted up to the A-League, the NPL champion can be promoted to the Championship as long as they meet a set criteria.

So what should the criteria be?

Crowds, stadiums, juniors and cash in the bank? 

That is a blog for another time, for now the AAFC must call a meeting and set out its shop to be ready to promote a club in 2021-22 and from then onwards, also the conversation about our next TV rights deal must provision for this incrementally. 

If this flawed expansion has proven anything, no one trusts then men in suits who make the deals behind closed doors that effect the lads in the stand and the boys and girls on the pitch, it is time that Football cast aside this contrived nonsense and move to a different system.

The same system the rest of the world uses, save of course the USA. 

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