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A-League clubs frustrated over opposition to league independence plans

The chances of an independent A-League kicking off by the start of next season appear to be lengthening as argument and major philosophical differences expose the cracks between the game's major stakeholders.

The state federations – the bodies representing soccer's grass roots and second tier competitions Australia wide – have thrown what one insider described as a ''hand grenade'' at the A-League clubs over their plans to take control of the game's elite competition, leading to frustration within the clubs, who want to begin the process as soon as possible.

Hopes of a independent A League by the start of next season appear to be   dwindling.

Hopes of a independent A League by the start of next season appear to be
dwindling.

The New League Working Party group received submissions from all the groups involved in the game at the weekend, and there was far from unanimous agreement on how an independent A-League could look – even whether it should be independent at all.

''There are a lot of things that the state federations have questions about relating not just to the A-League but whether the way it might be separated off would be for the good of the whole game,'' said one source familiar with the discussions.

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''There is the timeframe of the creation of a national second division, the fact that the state federations see promotion and relegation as part of that discussion, and the whole issue of expansion itself and who decides who gets into the league,'' the source said.

''Who is to say that the clubs, acting independently, will run the game any better than the FFA? There are a lot of issues to be resolved. We should also be asking if there are any other models for running the league that could be examined before we go down this direction.''

Questions have been raised over the terms of Wellington's inclusion.

Questions have been raised over the terms of Wellington's inclusion. Credit:AAP

It is also understood that the state federations have reservations about Wellington Phoenix's continued presence in the league: the New Zealanders have the right to be in the A-League until the end of next season, but no longer.

The A-League clubs have responded positively to the Kiwis' interest in remaining as part of the top-tier Australian competition in the future.

But the state federations have asked why a New Zealand club, and the NZ game, is benefiting to the tune of several million dollars a year in dividends from the TV broadcast revenue when that money might be better spent underwriting another Australian franchise or underpinning further investmentRead More – Source

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