How a first and second tier could work

Janakan Seemampillai Roar Guru

By Janakan Seemampillai, Janakan Seemampillai is a Roar Guru


115 Have your say

    Football purists have been calling for a promotion and relegation format for the Australian game for decades.

    But there are consequences for teams that do not perform according to these traditionalists – not only does promotion and relegation reward and punish performance but it also adds an element of excitement that can only be good for local football.

    The biggest problem with this in Australia is the fact football at the national league level does not have the history or the prestige of European or Asian leagues. Furthermore, the financial burden for lower league teams may be far too much for them to survive if they were not in the top flight.

    A-League clubs are struggling financially as it is – imagine how difficult it would be for a lower league club that wants to try to compete with the best. Putting all of that aside for a moment, the question is: how would promotion and relegation have a chance of working in Australia?

    In reality we need to first accept that National Premier League clubs around the country should not be part of this concept. It is ridiculous to suggest, for example, that Bentleigh Greens from Victoria, or Bonnyrigg White Eagles from New South Wales or Campbelltown City from South Australia could compete in a second division and could potentially make the A-League.

    These clubs simply would not be able to gather the financial muscle to compete with the likes of Melbourne City or Western Sydney Wanderers. It would just be a pointless exercise. These NPL clubs need to accept the fact they will just need to play their role as feeder clubs to the big guns, a sad but unavoidable reality.

    (AAP Image/Will Russell)

    To keep these clubs interested we can expand the FFA Cup to go for longer than it currently does. It is essentially now a pre-season competition that creeps into the start of the A-League season as it finishes around November. There is no reason why this competition can’t continue on until February the following year, but this is a different argument for another day.

    So what can we do about promotion and relegation? Let’s work out the optimal number of football clubs in Australia. The AFL has 18 teams and the NRL has 16 teams. Both competitions have existed for over 100 years and both argue they have too many teams, so the round ball game needs to learn from this and realise that 16 teams is probably the most we can possibly have.

    To make it work we can have two divisions of eight teams: The A-League and the B-League.

    The A-League could work like this:
    Top Four: These teams make the finals series and the grand final winner is declared champion. The champion and the winner of the premiers plate get spots in the Asian Champions League.

    Seventh place: Plays off with the winner of the B-League play-off for a spot in the A-League.

    Eighth place: Relegated

    The B-League could work like this:
    First place: Champions, promoted to the A-League

    Places two to five: Play-off against each other with the winner to play the seventh-placed A-League team for a place in the A-League.

    (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)

    Since each league has eight teams, we can have it that each club plays another club in its own league three times, which means 21 games. We can have a crossover, where each club from the A-League plays a club from the B-League once, which means we have 29 rounds in total. There will be arguments around what is fair and what isn’t due to home ground advantage and so on, but that is the luck of the draw.

    The idea is to keep the league interesting and to make sure each game in both divisions has consequences. The trick is to convince owners and key stakeholders and investors, including TV stations, that this sort of competition would work and create excitement, which would make it an easier product to sell to the fans either via match tickets or TV subscriptions.

    One thing is for sure: the A-League needs rejuvenation, and the idea of more meaningful games due to promotion and relegation can only be a good thing for the game in Australia. It will add more credibility to the local game and bring us into line with most of the big leagues around the world.

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    The Crowd Says (115)

    • December 28th 2017 @ 8:39am
      Nemesis said | December 28th 2017 @ 8:39am | ! Report

      This discussion piece is filled with assertions & conclusions that are based on false premises, or premises without foundation.

      The premise that Asian leagues have huge prestige has no foundation.
      The premise that WSW has great financial power is ridiculous.

      If the ALeague is operated independently and clubs have full control over their asset, we can expect huge capital to flow into the competition. That’s the main driver for the FFA deciding to relinquish control of the competition.

      Already, we have big money waiting to buy out the existing owners at AUFC & Brisbane Roar. Massive money will be used to tempt the owners of MVFC to sell.

      An 8 team competition with crossover is ridiculous and probably would not be accepted by the AFC. It certainly would not be acceptable to club owners, or fans.

      • December 28th 2017 @ 3:22pm
        Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 3:22pm | ! Report


        The author stated yesterday that afl is heaps better and he doesn’t like football much .

        But he thought we should learn from the wafl .

        So the brilliant article u read comes from the mind of 18 year ol giants fan

        Basically, if someone hates the A league this much, they must see it as a threat to themselves.

        • December 28th 2017 @ 3:31pm
          Janakan said | December 28th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

          Yes dude making stories up about the author is a very mature hahaha grow a pair and become a man son

          • December 28th 2017 @ 5:05pm
            Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report


            You clearly stated u have no interest in the w league yesterday.

            And your afl booming in Sydney , makes u either a giants or swans fan . Educated guess

            Grow a pair …… coming from you . Maturity buddy

            How about you come to a Newcastle Jets game and I’ll show you how successful the A league is .

            • December 28th 2017 @ 8:29pm
              Rasty said | December 28th 2017 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

              Probably has a comfier bed at home then the chair on offer at the soccer.

    • December 28th 2017 @ 8:54am
      Mono89 said | December 28th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

      There is nothing in this proposal that makes a great deal of sense. If you have two tiers of football, why on earth would they play a round against a team from a different tier? What would that add to the season other than a hugely unbalanced round? One of the current problems with the A-League is that the teams play each other three times, removing some of the interest as the season draws to a close, but you want to keep that? And if the NPL clubs aren’t big enough, or draw enough income to compete in the A-League after promotion, what is the best way to do it? Start up 8 new clubs to form the B-League? That sounds like an even bigger recipe for disaster. It’s already been proven that new clubs are hard to start in this country, without starting them in a league that is lesser to the A-League.

      • December 28th 2017 @ 3:23pm
        Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

        Mind numbing suggestions I reckon

        But good on him for trying

    • December 28th 2017 @ 9:29am
      Fadida said | December 28th 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

      So yesterday the author complains the league is “stale and boring” because teams play each other too many times. Today he proposes they should play each other 3 times!

      Playing a random team from the B division is surely the antithesis of the “history and prestige” of the European leagues he wants to mimic? None of them have a tacked on farce for the pupose of filling in a few games.

      It might well be that the NPL sides will lack the financial muscle to compete. If so, who are these other 6 teams? How will they be financed? What is the financial model? This is the question.

      Pie in the sky

      • December 28th 2017 @ 3:25pm
        Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 3:25pm | ! Report


        This guy is clueless, maybe he is the Matt Simon of blogging .

    • December 28th 2017 @ 9:37am
      JANAKAN said | December 28th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      We need to have cross over for financial reasons. Let’s say WSW get relegated. We need to have them play at least one derby for financial reasons. You all need to get your head out of the clouds and be realistic. Australian football is different to Europe in so many ways. WHilst we should try and adopt some things from Europe we can’t do exactly what Europe does cause we aren’t Europe. A second tier would financially struggle,
      Heck the a league is struggling. We need to do something creative.

      Fadida you bang on about financial models, please tell me your financial model?

      • December 28th 2017 @ 9:50am
        Fadida said | December 28th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        I’m not proposing a second tier at this stage, therefore I have no need to produce a model. Those that are do.

        One of us needs to get our head out of the clouds and be realistic. You “bang” on about how our league needs to be a European model and then throw in an NFL type cross over!

        • December 28th 2017 @ 10:00am
          JANAKAN said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

          ACtually we aren’t Europe and shouldn’t pretend we are. But the a league needs more meaningful games. It is difficult to have a financially sound second tier so this proposal still allows teams in the second tier to play first division teams for financial reasons.

          Just trying to think outside the box.

          People like yourself seem to think you know everything. So tell me how can we make the a league grow??? I’d like your idea. The league is boring and stale for a lot of fans. You can tell those fans to leave so big shots like yourself can think your flying the flag but the league will then die.

          Haha now don’t sook like you did yesterday and run away with your tail between your legs hahahaha

          • December 28th 2017 @ 10:12am
            Fadida said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

            I’m not sure if you are 12 years old or an adult who didn’t continue past high school. Could be either.

            I’ve never seen you on the football tab up until the last few days, our gain it seems. “Stale and boring” “meaningful games” and yet you propose a smaller top flight, these fewer teams playing each other the same number of times as is currently, with some random games v second tier sides who don’t exist….


            Almost as good as proposing how to get the W-league more popular, then admitting you don’t watch it.

            Not nearly as good as saying everything is “stale and boring”, except the “amazing” referees of course.

            I sense a Pulitzer Prize in the mail for you next week.

            The league isn’t dying BTW, but I don’t expect you to keep following it long enough to find out. Enjoy your school holidays.

            • December 28th 2017 @ 10:39am
              Janakan Seemampillai said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

              Hahaha so you havent seen me before? So? What’s that got to do with anything?

              You obviously have a little clique going and like typical old school soccer fans don’t like anyone else coming in you see as a threat. Then you blame everyone else (e.g. the afl) for soccers failures. One of The reasons soccer hasn’t performed as well at the high level
              Is due to people like yourself who can’t let go and see anything or anyone new as a threat.

              By the way I do watch W league just admitting I don’t watch it that much. Hence why I was proposing ways to make it better rather than people like you who just want to complain and not do anything hahaa

              • December 28th 2017 @ 10:42am
                punter said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report

                ‘Soccer failures’??? Soccer is the biggest sport in the world, AFL struggles to be anything meaningful outside 3 states!!!!

              • December 28th 2017 @ 10:44am
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:44am | ! Report


                It’s only abt 3 weeks …..

                and jankan can go watch the Fremantle bulldogs in the wafl and leave us alone.

              • December 28th 2017 @ 10:42am
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:42am | ! Report


                You are welcome to propose ideas . It’s just that ideas are shyte

              • December 28th 2017 @ 10:57am
                Fadida said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:57am | ! Report

                Show me where I’ve blamed the AFL for anything.

                You’re quite the mystery. Writing articles about a league you don’t like, bar the “amazing” referees.

                Trust me, people like you are no threat. Education and intelligence are threatening.

          • December 28th 2017 @ 10:21am
            Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

            The author keeps using the 4 letter word sook at people who disagree with him

            I know another 4 letter word …….. to describe the author ideas abt football.

            • December 28th 2017 @ 10:43am
              Janakan Seemampillai said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

              Well the reality is you all are sooking cause someone new is coming along and having a different idea hahaha I’ve yet to see you say anything constructive?

              For example what do you two think we need to do to make the a league and w league better?

              • December 28th 2017 @ 10:50am
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:50am | ! Report


                I’m really happy with the A league and w league. Football in Australia is light years ahead of 12 years ago .

                We have the Matilda’s as World Cup favourite.
                The jets are carving up

                Life is good

                I want to build a statue of Ernie Merrick in my front yard

                I want tea towels with Dimi Petratos on

                I want shoes like Roy O’Donovan

                I want to eat food made by Sndrew Nabbout
                All I want is more Aussie football to watch . I want 2 division of 16 teams ,
                So I can watch Aussie football 24 hours a day

                I absolutely effing love the a league and w league .

              • December 28th 2017 @ 11:23am
                Janakan Seemampillai said | December 28th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

                GLAD you think everything is ok. But we have others to think about. You seem like one of Those people who just ignores everything and pretends all is ok. It isn’t.The a league crowds are down whereas the W league Is growing and we need to take advantage of that. The A league has had to give away free tickets to kids (which is a great idea) but giving away freebies when the a league is well established is a concern.

                Sorry Punter but soccer has failures? The A league hasn’t shrunk, the Socceroos barely made the World Cup, our governing body is under threat from fifa…we have a burgeoning junior system yet what pathway will they have with the way things need are at the top?

                The AFL is booming. Have a look at the crowds at their games. Who cares no one else in the world watches? Irrelevant really.

              • December 28th 2017 @ 12:39pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report


                So giving out free tickets is a bad idea for the A league

                But The afl gives out free tickets to the wafl, and according to you the afl is brilliant.

                You tripped over your own b s now mate

                Clueless contributions u have made today mate

              • December 28th 2017 @ 12:50pm
                JANAKAN said | December 28th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                Don’t start sooking again. Can you read? I said it’s a good thing they gave away free tickets but the point is it’s a shame they have to. AFLW was brand new so fair enough giving free tickets but a league is 12 years old? So it’s a shame they have to do that for an established product. AFLW is brand new and was competing with big bash so the afl did a smart thing and made it free so it looks Awesome on TV and attracts people. I mean look how desperate afl clubs are to have a women’s team showing the aflw strategy worked brilliantly.

                Clubs are selling AFLW memberships too now.

                So instead of resorting to child like dummy spits and personal attacks why not say something constructive haha or can you not do that? Hahaha

              • December 28th 2017 @ 1:00pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                Thing is jankan u r tripping over your own bs

                Love it

                Keep the banter up

                And let’s save the Afl together

              • December 28th 2017 @ 12:48pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 12:48pm | ! Report


                If u want some more good advice abt how we can help the afl be more popular, I’ll meet u on the afl site .

                I don’t think these soccer boys are going to buy into your ideas,

                But if we work harder, we can make the afl big again one day .

              • December 28th 2017 @ 12:59pm
                JANAKAN said | December 28th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                Hahaha afl Is huge and getting bigger. Not sure if you can count but check the average crowds and memberships then compare to a league. But apparently according to you it’s ok for the a league losing crowds and money hahahhaha did you not do maths when you were 12

              • December 28th 2017 @ 1:02pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report


                Afl is huge in Victoria west Australia and South Australia and Moore park in Sydney

                That’s it

                But together we can make Afl as big as football one day .

                What can we do to help afl?

              • December 28th 2017 @ 6:00pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

                Gws has 20000 members , me and my kids are 3 of those members .

                Also members of the gws are my 3 dogs
                Scooby Lilly and cookie . It’s a great initiative by the giants to boost members

                Maybe the A league can allow pet membership too, to boost numbers. We can learn from the afl

                As being members , we turned up to the gws final against western eagles and only 8000 other gsw people turned up with us.

                I guess all the other members not there were people’s pets like Scooby Lilly and cookie .

              • December 28th 2017 @ 10:59am
                Fadida said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:59am | ! Report

                If you’d been on the tab before the last 2 weeks you’d see dozens of articles and thousands of opinions on how to improve things. From grown ups

              • December 28th 2017 @ 11:31am
                Nemesis said | December 28th 2017 @ 11:31am | ! Report

                “The AFL is booming. Have a look at the crowds at their games. Who cares no one else in the world watches? Irrelevant really.”

                This is a football tab. No one is interested in anything to do with AFL.

              • December 28th 2017 @ 4:10pm
                JANAKAN said | December 28th 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

                Sorry nemesis but people keep bringing the afl up here so hence why I am mentiooning it. It’s important we learn from other sports.

      • December 28th 2017 @ 1:06pm
        Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 1:06pm | ! Report


        First thing you can do to give advice on the football tab is tell gws they are wasting there money in Western Sydney .

        • December 28th 2017 @ 4:43pm
          JANAKAN said | December 28th 2017 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

          WHY? They had 20,000 members? More than Sydney FCbor the Wanderers? Not bad in a traditional nrl market competing with numerous rugby league matches.

          • December 28th 2017 @ 5:10pm
            Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

            Gws has 20000 members , me and my kids are 3 of those members .

            Also members of the gws are my 3 dogs
            Scooby Lilly and cookie . It’s a great initiative by the giants to boost members

            Maybe the A league can allow pet membership too, to boost numbers. We can learn from the afl

            As being members , we turned up to the gws final against western eagles and only 8000 other gsw people turned up with us.

            I guess all the other members not there were people’s pets like Scooby Lilly and cookie .

    • Roar Guru

      December 28th 2017 @ 10:25am
      Grobbelaar said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

      Personally, I think the two tiers must remain exactly that, and the only crossover should be for play-offs for promotion and relegation (if at all), but not during the regular season.

      • December 28th 2017 @ 10:39am
        Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:39am | ! Report

        Hi Grobelaar

        Good to hear from you old chap

        • December 28th 2017 @ 10:43am
          punter said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:43am | ! Report

          Has he given us the updates on the ratings Love Actually v Die Hard?

          • December 28th 2017 @ 10:52am
            Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report


            The notebook…… chicks love that movie

            • December 28th 2017 @ 11:03am
              Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

              Not that chick movies are a bad thing
              , could be a thing for A league off season.

              Actually the ending of The notebook… really sad , so don’t watch that bit .

              • December 28th 2017 @ 11:25am
                Janakan Seemampillai said | December 28th 2017 @ 11:25am | ! Report

                kAngajets have we got stats on how the Star Wars round went? The a league is going so well they had a Star Wars round. Have you got stats to show how that impacted the crowd

              • December 28th 2017 @ 12:14pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

                The force is weak in you

              • December 28th 2017 @ 12:50pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                Afl has that many themed rounds nobody can remember them

                At least you remember Star Wars round

                But jankan , how can we help afl become more popular???

                Think harder bro

              • December 28th 2017 @ 1:30pm
                JANAKAN said | December 28th 2017 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

                HAHAHA Star Wars round which has nothing to do with football? Then the a league had Spanish round to copy the AFL haha failed miserably as most fans didn’t know about It

              • December 28th 2017 @ 1:42pm
                Kangajets said | December 28th 2017 @ 1:42pm | ! Report


                So u don’t like the A league bro
                Compared to afl

                At least 3 states in Australia agree with you abt afl . 3/8 of Australia like afl mate . Do some research.

                Your ideas are welcome, but they are absolutely terrible .

                But thanks for trying .

    • December 28th 2017 @ 10:29am
      Worried said | December 28th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

      There seems to be some expectation that running a second division club will attract similar financial costs as that of an A-League club.
      Surely players playing for a second division club cannot expect to attract the same level of wages as those at A-League clubs. PFA will have to accept that these will not be Full-Time professional clubs, and as such players will NOT receive a Full-Time wage.
      Travel costs might be off-set a bit by using a creative draw where by a club might travel for 10 days in a loop, playing 3 away matches before returning home say twice a year, thus hopefully cutting costs a bit. In an 8 team competition this covers 6 of the 7 away games. Perhaps player might be able to negotiate with employers to use some holidays or long service leave to offset wage loses.
      Similar arguments were put up before the National League began, but if people want to make it work, it can!

      • December 28th 2017 @ 11:00am
        Fadida said | December 28th 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        A lot of surelys, maybes and mights there. You can’t start a league on those.