FFA attempt to clarify chairman's controversial promotion-relegation comments

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FFA have released a clarifying statement after chairman Chris Nikou told the audience at the Football Writers' Festival that promotion and relegation in the A-League is unlikely until 2034.

Without going into too much detail, when pressed Nikou admitted that promotion-relegation was a long way away. 

"The current A-League clubs have a licence till 2034 so promotion and relegation earlier than that is not likely," Nikou said.

"I might point out that the FFA has a right to change that but in the current climate it would not be right for me to take this any further."

FFA board member Remo Nogarotto responded to fan concerns on social media to express confusion over Nikou's statements.

Nogarotto said the 2034 timeframe appeared to be a personal view of Nikou and not the result of any board discussion.

"Got no idea where that number comes from," Nogarotto tweeted.

"Sounds pretty arbitrary. Must be a private view and certainly one that is not shared by me.

"Would have preferred a proper board discussion before publicly ventilating."

Fellow FFA board member Joseph Carrozzi also seemed to distance himself and the FFA from Nikou's comments. 

When asked if this was a 'slip-up' by Nikou, Carrozzi responded via Twitter: "No. It's and interview about football. Free flowing views. Not FFA policy. Relax."

FFA then sent out a statement to the media in an attempt to clarify the controversial comments. 

"Under the terms of the existing Club Participation Agreement (CPA), existing and incoming Australian Hyundai A-League Clubs are entitled to participate in the Hyundai A-League until the year 2034," it said. 

"Whilst the CPA also provides for the introduction of promotion and relegation during that period at its discretion, FFA notes that the New Leagues Working Group and the Second Division Working Group are currently considering the future structure of the top two tiers of Australian club football, including what provisions for promotion and relegation should be established. 

"These provisions are expected to include the specific timing of the establishment of a Second Division, targeted commencement of promotion and relegation to and from the Hyundai A-League, and the prioritisation of Second Division Clubs as part of expansion of the Hyundai A-League beyond 12 teams," it concluded. 

In February A-League clubs released a blueprint for an independent competition beginning later this year.

In the blueprint a growth to a 16-team home-and-away competition is viewed as the first step to bringing promotion and relegation to and from a national second division.

Under the model developed by A-League clubs' umbrella body APFCA, 75 per cent approval would be needed from existing clubs to make promotion and relegation a reality.

Source SBS The World Game and AAP