PFA Champion and co-founder Kimon Taliadoros has been appointed to convene a Football Federation Australia National Competitions Review (NCR) Panel to examine the structure of Australia’s football competitions.
The NCR comes at a time when the A-League is also being strategically reviewed, and the establishment of a national FFA Cup competition seriously mooted.  The latter has the overwhelming support of A-League players, with 87% supporting the establishment of a “FA Cup style competition”.

The mandate of the NCR is:

1.    Review current FFA Member Federation (MF) competition structures from top State Leagues to Under 12s

2.    Review proposals of preferred models from MFs covering competition, development, financial aspects, to seek the best option for a second tier national competition (underpinning the A-League), and include criteria for leagues to adopt

3.    Conduct financial analysis of models

4.    Present a report with recommendations to FFA and MFs for discussion at MFs meeting for subsequent submission to the FFA Board

5.    Consideration of statutory steps necessary to mandate national competition framework

FFA Chief Executive Ben Buckley said that Taliadoros will add considerable value to the NCR Panel.

“Kimon has extensive experience in business and in football, both as a former Socceroo and as an administrator.  Kimon’s accomplishments include the establishment of the PFA and more recently a review of Talented Player Pathways on behalf of FFA and membership of the Football NSW Competitions Committee.  Kimon has a solid understanding of the national competitions structure.”

PFA Chief Executive Brendan Schwab said that the A-League and NCR reviews give Australian football the opportunity to continue with the reform process of the last decade, and build the right foundations for future success.

“Despite some clear challenges facing Australian football at present, Australia’s love affair with football is on the rise.” Schwab said.  “For example, various pieces of research continue to show:

•    about 40% of Australians are fans of football, a level comparable with our major competitors;

•    football is Australia’s biggest participation team sport by far, with participation growing;

•    football is the most popular sport among young people; and

•    our players are among the most respected and visible in Australian sport.

“In addition, the quality of play in the A-League this season is being universally acclaimed.  The PFA believes the quality is the direct result of the benefits available to A-League players, the longer season, improved coaching standards and everyone’s increasing experience at A-League level.

“So, the challenge is to continue to convert football fans into fans of the A-League clubs.  Some clubs have done this very well, including Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United and Central Coast Mariners.  Others have work to do.

“The alignment of the game’s huge grass roots to the A-League clubs is a key to achieving this conversion.  As yet, not enough of Australia’s football fans support an A-League club.  This is the game’s great opportunity,” Schwab added.

The NCR Panel will have an important role to play in aligning the game’s competition structures behind the A-League clubs.

According to Schwab, the overarching reforms of the Australian Football League in the mid 1980’s warrant examination.

“Much of today’s success for the AFL is attributed to the introduction of the independent commission, the national competition and the philosophy of equalisation, including the national player draft and salary cap.  Whilst each of these initiatives was vital, a much broader approach was also taken.

“The AFL abolished the important Victorian reserves and under 19 competitions and utilised reformed State competitions as the second tier.  This required the establishment of elite junior competitions from scratch in Victoria and the merger of the traditional Victorian Football Association with the AFL system.  In other established AFL States such as South and Western Australia, prestigious State competitions were brought into alignment with the local AFL clubs.

“These were brave decisions made on a long term basis.  The quality of the players being developed and the strong fan support for AFL clubs today suggest they were the correct ones,” Schwab concluded.

Kimon Taliadoros – a former Socceroo – co-founded the PFA and is today recognised by the PFA Kimon Taliadoros Scholarships, which recognise players who demonstrate excellence in their off-field development.