A popular debate in the comments section of football stories on The Roar is the notion the A-League or the FFA in general should develop a second division with promotion and relegation between the two.
An old article I read had David Gallop wishing to develop this proposal by 2022. The fact we haven’t heard any more on the matter meant it was probably wishful thinking on the part of the journalist.
That matter aside, what exactly should we do with this important piece in our football pyramid?
Should the teams operating in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) simply act as feeder clubs for the A-League, providing players ready to make the leap to full time professional playing and reap the rewards of future transfer fees?
Should a quasi-second division be formed with the same A-League clubs themselves?
The idea behind this is that reserve teams would play each other. This would give clubs greater depth and allow junior or bench players for first grade A-League teams match practice, making them ready should they get called up.
It would also provide more players with elite coaching as they all would be essentially guided under the same coaching team.
Many AFL teams establish relationships with semi-pro clubs whereby they loan their players out if they are out of form or needing to come back from injury.
These semi-pro clubs get the benefit of having elite talent and the AFL teams get the benefit of having a player ease back into their squad.
Could teams in the A-League adopt a similar policy? Could a national second division develop from teams that are successful in the FFA Cup?
This would allow the FFA to see which teams are able to rise to the challenge and offer up a competitive match year after year before offering them a A league License.
It’s sort of like watching the ‘cream rise to the top’ analogy. Instead of simply forming a second division, let’s see who really deserves or can compete at this level before we go ahead.
As you can see there are many options to develop this tier. The end goal should always be to expand the base of players that can play higher quality football.
This in time will flow on the A-League and our Socceroos.