Australian football fans hoping for promotion-relegation in the A-League will likely have to wait for more than a decade, Football Federation Australia chairman Chris Nikou declared.
Nikou hinted without going into detail that fans wanting promotion and relegation might have to wait till 2034 for their dream to come to fruition.
"The current A-League clubs have a licence till 2034 so as I stand here now promotion and relegation earlier than that is not likely," he said.
'You need to have a second division established. Those clubs need to be able to step up ... if the gap is too big they won't be able to do it.
"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 later attempted to clarify the chairman's comments via a statement.
"Under the terms of the existing Club Participation Agreement, existing and incoming Australian A-League clubs are entitled to participate in the A-League until the year 2034," it read.
"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 A-League, and the prioritisation of second division clubs as part of expansion of the A-League beyond 12 teams."
Nikou was the special guest speaker at the inaugural Football Writers' Festival in Jamberoo, on the NSW south coast, at the weekend.
Four months after becoming the game's leader at the end of an acrimonious battle for power that divided the football community, Nikou said that never did the game need a united front more than now if it was to reach its full potential.
"We need a unified sense of purpose to get out there and sell our sport," Nikou told an audience of about 100 media and fans.
"We have been living in paralysis for far too long and the reason we have not moved much is due to that that we have a broad church.
"We have a history in our game of talking about what's not right in our game but we have to focus on what is right.
"What we are seeing is that everyone is doing what they think is right in their neck of the woods.
"So you get situations where governments are faced with five approaches about, say, infrastructure from the same geographical area at the same time, each saying give me this and give me that. Governments do not operate that way."
Nikou said (federal or state) governments preferred to deal with one entity at a time.
Nikou said he Australian Football League were a prime example of how sport can achieve much more by presenting a sole front.
"Our competitors like the AFL do it in a much better way because they go with one voice," he said.
"Governments know that when thy are speaking to this one voice this voice is actually speaking on behalf of many others."
"We are not doing that."