The A-League players' union has urged Football Federation Australia to seriously consider the merits of a national second division.
But Professional Footballers Australia CEO John Didulica has warned any efforts to "reverse engineer" a cut-price, semi-professional blueprint to suit state-league clubs would be doomed to fail.
The Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), a lobby group of more than 100 NPL clubs, held their first board meeting in Brisbane on Saturday as they seek to further their plans to establish a second division with eventual promotion and relegation to the top tier.
The AAFC board discussed three potential models - including a dual conference structure to negate travel costs - and intends to publish a report in October detailing their preferred option.
However, AAFC chairman Rabieh Krayem - the former boss of defunct A-League club North Queensland Fury - has suggested it would most likely be a semi-professional competition involving former National Soccer League clubs like Sydney Olympic, Melbourne Knights and South Melbourne.
The AAFC has also dismissed PFA modelling that suggested it would cost $5.5 million per year to run a professional second division club, in addition to more than $10 million in centralised league operating costs, arguing it could be done for around half that amount.
Didulica is adamant that doing it on the cheap would not create the sort of playing opportunities Australian football desperately needs.
"To take the step carelessly and just hope things fall into place is hugely risky and people who have formed this group have been part of A-League clubs that have failed," Didulica told AAP.
"They should know the pitfalls of acting with haste.
"It's fine to dismiss that figure, saying 'we can't afford it' - but then you're not ready to have a fully professional second-tier competition.
"What you're proposing is a re-heated semi-professional competition. My question is, what's the point?
"We can't just reverse engineer a league to suit existing interests. We need to take a step back and ask what is in the interests of Australian football."
It's understood FFA see the AAFC's call for a second division as implausible given the game's current financial state.
Any national second division would need to be sanctioned by FFA, or else it would operate outside of FIFA rules.
AAFC is also seeking a position on FFA's congress, the body that elects members to FFA's board.
"There'll be various views about that that will come forward when the FIFA/AFC delegation arrive," FFA chief David Gallop told AAP.
"That's as much as we can say about that at this point."