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AAFC: WHY AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL NEEDS RESTRUCTURE

The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC) is continuing to push for a restructure of domestic football, despite Football Federation Australia (FFA) delaying the expansion of its congress until November.

Since the AAFC formed in March, 110 NPL clubs from around Australia have joined forces in an attempt to develop an expanded congress model that integrates all the member federation clubs to the A-League.

After FFA failed to get the required 75 per cent support for its new congress model in March, the governing body made a request to FIFA to extend the deadline to the next annual congress meeting in November.

But when the FFA requested a delay the A-League clubs and the AAFC were not happy.

However, FourFourTwo understands that the subsequent resignation of the FIFA Chairman of the Associations Committee tasked with approving the delay means that congress reform will likely happen at FFA’s next congress meeting in November anyway.

After being excluded from the March reform process, the AAFC still expects to be invited to FFA’s next annual congress meeting according to association chairman Tom Kalas.

“Whether it’s November or earlier we still request to be admitted to that congress to help guide the process along for football,” Kalas said.

“And more importantly to represent the NPL clubs whom constitute one of the most important stakeholders in Australian football.

“We are optimistic that the state federations, the FFA and the A-League clubs all understand the NPL tier is a key stakeholder in football and so on that basis I expect to get an invitation.”

Because FFA’s proposed new governance structure failed to get the support of Football NSW, Football Victoria and the A-League clubs, Kalas said there was no opportunity for AAFC to be added to the process.

“The fact that FFA is delaying the congress discussion is due to the lack of agreement with the A-League clubs and two state federations,” he said.

“I am disappointed the FFA has stalled this process. A restructure of football in Australia is inevitable.

“The AAFC believes that unless football integrates all its tiers and the code begins a national facilities strategy and building program, Australia will not develop a football culture in order to grow into a serious commercially powerful sport.

“Instead it will remain predominantly a kid’s participation sport.”

Before the March congress vote FIFA acknowledged the strong foundation of the new association and wrote to FFA saying they wanted the AAFC to be involved in discussions.

Kalas said FIFA’s support for the AAFC to be included in any congress discussions showed how key the NPL clubs are viewed by Zurich in the Australian football landscape.

“FIFA realise we represent an important democratic stakeholder in this entire football ecosystem,” he said.

“The NPL tier of football in this country manages significant football land and infrastructure. It has a plethora of highly credentialed administrators, it is a pivotal contributor to the fabric of the community and although it has been starved of ‘top/down’ funding, it has managed to survive and fight very hard to be relevant.”


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