What would the A-League look like this season with promotion and relegation?
The A-League is slowly approaching that time. The introduction of the National Second Division in 2022 is possible, with the hopeful addition of promotion and relegation.
Several unanswered questions surround the league with low crowd numbers, a possible new TV deal, the clubs breaking away from the FA and forming the APL, and fans feeling disconnected from their clubs, just a few of the issues plaguing the game in Australia currently.
But promotion and relegation is arguably the most significant talking point. So, what would change in the A-League if it were introduced this season?
One of the most significant changes would be that every game for every team would count, regardless of its stature, whereas now the players have no consequence for finishing in the bottom two places.
The fans have desperately been calling for the NSD and promotion and relegation for many years, and they may finally get their wish.
The two clubs who currently occupy 11th and 12th spot are the stricken clubs of Melbourne Victory and the Newcastle Jets, who sit on 13 points and 15 points, respectively.
So, what would the league look like without these two clubs, and who would get “promoted”?
While it’s unlikely that either Melbourne teams would ever face the reality of relegation if it were introduced, the loss of any founding clubs would be devastating, not only for the fans but also for the club.
NPL clubs such as South Melbourne, Sydney Olympic and Sydney United would undoubtedly be a shout. The two clubs I would tip to be the first two ever promoted would be South Melbourne and Sydney Olympic.
Olympic and United in action in the NPL NSW earlier this season. (Dan Ullman)
But could the sides that get promoted compete with the already established A-League teams?
That is a tricky question to answer, as we’ve certainly seen those NPL teams such as Green Gully knocking out the Mariners and other sides who have done the same in the FFA Cup.
If we look at the quality of the teams predicted to be promoted, there is enough quality where the second division sides and A-League sides would not be in yo-yo with the teams being promoted and relegated.
NPL clubs certainly could give A-League clubs a stern test within the dream of being promoted, and hopefully, one day soon, we can see NSD teams playing in the top-flight and pushing to stay there.