How would a national second division work?
In March 2017, The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) was created to start discussions with the FA about creating a second tier of football in Australia.
As of yet, a National Second Division has not been “officially created”.
As we move closer to its creation, the second tier is likely to include NPL sides. But how would this be financially viable to see promotion and relegation in Australia finally?
In late 2020, we saw the release of 30 “provisional” clubs for the second division, so who are the front runners?
NSW teams such as former NSL teams Sydney Olympic and Sydney United FC are good options. Both sides boast stadiums with over 10,000 capacity and have massive budgets. In the NPL Victoria, former NSL side South Melbourne would also certainly be considered a front runner and fellow Victorian sides Melbourne Knights and Heidelberg FC.
South Melbourne are among a host of NPL clubs that would be included in the second tier.
Queensland NPL sides Olympic FC and Peninsula Power are certainly in contention for the NSD, whilst other Sydney teams such as APIA and Marconi are worth mentioning. You could also chuck in a whole host of other clubs such as Edgeworth Eagles, Avondale, Adelaide City, Wollongong Wolves, South Hobart and the Oakleigh Cannons as potential options.
However, it is all well and good discussing viable second-tier sides, but how would the NSD run from a financial point of view?
Most NPL teams currently need upwards of $900,000 to bankroll their costs each season. The Championship states that NSD teams would require a budget of 850,000-1.6 million dollars and a participation fee of $200,000 each season.
You would also have to factor in domestic travel costs, as there is no doubt the price of a Perth-based team playing in Sydney would be costly.
Given the potential financial adversity, would adopting a Conference model – like they use in America with East/West – be more financially efficient for the first two seasons of the NSD?
The clubs would be open to the East/West model, as it will reduce travel costs and prevent the idea of liquidation due to lack of funds in the first two seasons. Clubs from the East/West conference could play each other once a season.
We have heard talk for a long time now about the NSD launching. Hopefully, soon it will finally be introduced, and football's true power in this country is released.