AAP Soccer

New FFA chief backs second-tier comp

By AAP Newswire

Newly appointed Football Federation Australian CEO James Johnson has targeted three priorities and can't see any reason why there shouldn't be a second-tier competition below the A-League.

Johnson has outlined his vision and list of priorities, which include unbundling the A-league from FFA, the joint Australia-New Zealand bid for the 2023 Women's World Cup and reviewing the different domestic competitions.

"We don't have a second-tier competition, but these discussions are happening and I don't see any reason why we cannot have a second-tier competition," Johnson said on Wednesday.

"But what does a second-tier competition look like in a sporting framework like Australia? That's a question that we're going to have to answer.

"We have to have a discussion with our stakeholders, our state federations and the players with the PFA.

"Really try and understand what type of league is ultimately not only going to provide opportunities for the players and the coaches and referees, but also what kind of league is going to be complementary to the NPL, the state federations to the A-League and the professional players themselves.

"I'd like to look at the FFA Cup, also the NPL, and how we grow these products."

Johnson was reluctant to nominate an ideal number of clubs in the A-League and second-tier competition, saying it depended on competition format and available resources.

While football was struggling to attract fans and sponsors, Johnson described the challenge of tackling several complex issues as "fun" and was upbeat about its future.

"I think we've got a lot to be optimistic about with the participation numbers that we have and the opportunities that exist domestically and globally, with the potential to possibly host the Women's World Cup," Johnson said.

"I'm going to get out to our commercial partners and listen to what their concerns are. I'll also be communicating our vision as a sport as we develop it together with the board.

"'I certainly think investing in football is a great opportunity."

Asked about his priorities, Johnson said "We need to set the organisation (FFA) up internally for transformational change, from an organisation that is local to one that is able to act local but also think and act globally.

"The other two points are the unbundling of the A-League. The quicker we can get the governance model where it's a win-win relationship, I think the better for us, for the whole football community and the A-League.

"I think the third priority is the Women's World Cup because that decision is in June and time is working against us."

The joint Australia-New Zealand bid is up against competition from Brazil, Colombia and Japan.

Australian football has traditionally been beset by competing interests and Johnson wants to see FFA become a unifying force, bringing together different stakeholders.

He said other issues included looking at whether registration costs were too high and the possibility of incentivising clubs to develop players.