Football Federation Australia’s Board has put expansion of the Hyundai A-League and a resolution to the game’s long-running Congress evolution debate at the top of its agenda for 2018 following a day-long strategy meeting in Sydney yesterday.
The Board also focussed on its priorities of football development initiatives, the Westfield W-League, preparations for the Westfield Matildas’ campaigns in the Algarve Cup and the AFC Asian Cup in April, and on the Caltex Socceroos preparations for the FIFA World Cup in Russia in June and the AFC Asian Cup in January next year.
FFA’s directors have targeted the 2019-20 season as the start date for two new clubs.
More details about the formal process will be announced next month with the intention to have a decision later this year.
The Board also agreed in principle to create a new corporate framework for the A-League/W-League which could give clubs more input over the running of the league and potentially provide new investment opportunities for existing and new clubs.
It is an important step towards a new operating model, on which FFA management has been working for more than a year. The existing Hyundai A-League/Westfield W-League clubs and FFA’s Member Federations will be invited to participate in discussions regarding the formation of the framework.
In response to a general trend in sport to lower attendances and television audiences, which has been reflected in A-League metrics this season, FFA will collaborate with the A-League clubs and broadcasters FOX SPORTS and Network Ten on a fresh approach to marketing the league, in particular around the start of next season.
The Board re-affirmed its support for the principle of an expanded Congress to enable broader representation within the game and significantly improve gender equality, while balancing the interests of each group.
FFA's initiative in establishing a Congress Review Working Group with FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), will create a forum for voices across the whole of the game to be heard in this important step in the evolution of football in Australia.
Officials from FIFA and the AFC will join with FFA in Sydney from 20-22 February to meet with representatives from a range of interest groups within the football community including Member Federations, Hyundai A-League/Westfield W-League clubs, Professional Footballers Australia, the Association of Australian Football Clubs, women’s football, referees, coaches and fans.
FIFA has defined the purpose of the Sydney meetings as follows:
1. To meet with the stakeholders (Member Federations, A-League clubs, PFA) and any other relevant interlocutors, such as the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), that have been established in the meantime.
2. Based on the feedback received, to define the terms of reference of the Congress review working group, which include its objective, composition, mandate and timeline