There has been a lot of discussion on The Roar about the prospect of Football Federation Australia (FFA) introducing a national second division in the future.
One article even debated whether this national second division should be called the B-League or A2-League.
But a lot of discussion has overlooked the fact that Australia simply can’t support two professional national football competitions with promotion and relegation.
Supporters of promotion-relegation will say Holland, a country with about the same population as Australia, can support it, so why can’t we?
But football is the number one game in the Netherlands.
Australia already has 37 professional football clubs in other codes (rugby league, rugby union and Australian Rules), so the supporter base is already stretched.
Also, traveling across Holland for an away game is a lot easier than going from Perth to Townsville.
A-League clubs are still trying to build up supporter bases and have discovered over the past few seasons that a big fan base doesn’t appear overnight.
How would a team like North Queensland, or Newcastle, or even Sydney FC for that matter, survive if they were relegated to a second division?
All of a sudden the club would get little to no media coverage, meaning the public would be even less informed about when games are on.
Virtually the whole playing roster would want to leave and play for a club in the top division.
Sponsors would want out because games would no longer be shown on television.
And in their place in the top division could be South Melbourne or Sydney United.
Just how a current state league team would be able to afford life in the A-League is unknown.
Traveling to away games is all well and good for NSW Premier League clubs at the moment, but how would they go traveling to Perth or Wellington or Townsville a couple of times a year?
The FFA needs to ensure the A-League’s survival – first and foremost.
Let’s get a viable 12-team competition going for at least 10 or so years before we even consider further expansion. As for promotion and relegation, it is just a pipe-dream.