By @neal-symons and @david-shilovsky
Tasmania, Canberra, Wollongong. Perhaps a new team in Brisbane? The potential for A-League expansion is always a hot topic among Australian football fans.
CEO of the Australian Professional Leagues, Danny Townsend, spoke to Kick360 about the APL’s vision for growing the A-Leagues and just how close the competitions are to seeing more expansion becoming reality.
Townsend also touched on the looming National Second Division, and what that would mean for existing A-League clubs’ youth programs.
“We’ve made it very clear that the APL is committed to expansion,” Townsend said.
“We want to take A-League football – men and women – to more cities across the country. That’s something that continues to be a key part of our strategy. We’ve been working on that for the best part of six months and we’re very close to being able to announce our roadmap for expansion.
“That will continue to contribute to both a successful league and the development pathways with players playing more often, both men and women.”
Regarding the upcoming National Second Division, Townsend makes a distinction between the new second-tier competition and any potential rebooting of the Y-League/A-League Youth as pathways for younger players to cut their teeth before making the leap to fully professional senior football.
“They’re different things. At the end of the day Football Australia are driving the NSD, and I think what’s important is that we are able to coexist in a way that is complementary. That comes down to when these competitions are run, how does the Y-League and NSD ensure they meet objectives of development?
“Because ultimately when you take your place in the football pyramid, you’ve got a role to play in ensuring we’re all aligned to one thing: to develop the best talent to represent our country across male, female and youth. We want our clubs to be competitive on the continental stage. We want our players to go on and play for some of the bigger clubs in the world.
“That’s everyone’s role. We’ve just go to make sure we coexist. We’ll certainly be doing everything we can to support the NSD’s success.”