Slowly but surely, the potential makeup of Australia’s national second division is coming together.
The Second Division Working Group is chipping away behind the scenes, looking to finalise proposals for the competition earmarked ‘The Championship’.
The Association of Australian Football Clubs, representing NPL and grassroots clubs nation-wide, is targeting a 2020 launch for the competition.
Key details of the competition’s makeup are still to be determined, as are the clubs that will compete in it, though some have signalled their potential entry.
Many of which could be traditional Australian powers.
NPL New South Wales side Marconi Stallions have registered their interest through Football Chairman Robert Carniato, as have NPL Victoria club Melbourne Knights.
“Definitely we’re interested, we’ve been interested for quite a while,” Knights president Pave Jusup said on Wednesday’s Daily Football Show.
“We were one of the first NSL clubs to realise immediately that the A-League at its beginning was not for us and that was out of our reach.
“But in the last five, six years, we’ve… not outgrown the NPL, but we’ve got the ability to outgrow it under the right environment.
“There’s a few other clubs in the country that are in the same boat. We’re going to reach our potential as a club and get that 3,000 or 4,000 people coming through the gates every week.”
Jusup revealed some of the club’s major plans, but many of those were dependent on the coming together of the second tier, and professionalising.
Knights would be able to call on their privately owned stadium – the famed Somers St venue in Sunshine – but admitted it is in need of a “touchup”.
“We’re exploring the option of developing a new facility for the club which would include probably 10 pitches, a 7,000 to 10,000 all-seater stadium, etcetera,” he added.
“We’re not going to go down that path without knowing what’s in store for the next five, 10 years in Australian soccer.
“We need – not guarantees per se – but you need the stability in the game to say, okay, we can invest 30, 40, $50 million into something for the future.
“If it’s going to be how it’s been up until now in the NPL anyway, where rules can change at a whim, and the environment you’re operating in is materially changed every year, you can’t go with that kind of investment in that kind of environment.”