The head of the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), Rabieh Krayem, says the organisation is confident of being part of the newly formed Congress when FIFA arrives in February.
Next month, officials from FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will begin discussions with Football Federation Australia (FFA) with the aim of resolving the on-going Congress issue.
The AAFC is an alliance of over 120 National Premier League clubs from around Australia and late last year the organisation received a major boost when FIFA referenced the AAFC as ‘relevant interlocutors’.
So, when world football’s governing body arrives next month, the AAFC will be part of the discussion and Krayem hopes the talks will lead to the AAFC gaining a spot on the new congress.
“It’s important for us to get that recognition from FIFA,” he said.
“We are pushing our cause to say whatever the make-up of the new Congress, we believe that the NPL clubs should have representation on that Congress.
“We represent a key industry. We’re no different to the A-League clubs, the PFA or the state federations.
“We believe the NPL clubs nationally should have a seat at the table when there is discussion about the make-up of the game.
“That’s always been a push for us and obviously having that recognition by FIFA/AFC and even by FFA means we’re part of that process.”
While FFA has cooled any discussions around expansion as well as promotion and relegation due to several ongoing governance issues, the AAFC announced a proposal to introduce a national second tier known as ‘The Championship’ in late 2017.
And Krayem said the AAFC would raise the idea of a second tier when FIFA arrive next month.
“We’re looking forward to being involved in the discussions when FIFA/AFC come out not only about the make-up of the Congress but also discussions about the Championship and the second-tier competition also,” he said.
“We’re engaged with all the states as part of that process. We have to have continued and more meaningful dialogue with the A-League clubs and the PFA and the key for us is first to work with the FFA to agree on a working group model.”
Krayem revealed that the AAFC have had ongoing discussions with FFA after they released their core document containing details of the Championship in October last year
“Our discussions with the FFA have been very fruitful,” Krayem said. “We will hopefully be doing that again next Thursday and it will be our third meeting with them.
“We had a meeting with them prior to Christmas and we agreed to come back in the new year to come up with a model for the Championship and then work it through with the various stakeholders.
“We’ve also been in discussions and correspondence with the state federations who want to be involved in the working group for developing the finalisation of the Championship.
“With the FFA, our aim is to come up with an agreement on a way forward. We can then go back to the PFA, the A League clubs, the state federations and our own clubs about a timeline and way forward. We’re encouraged so far in our discussions with the FFA.”