Canberra NPL teams keen on AAFC concept

National Premier Leagues Capital Football teams will likely follow Canberra FC and Tuggeranong United to join the recently formed Australian Association of Football Clubs.


The association held its inaugural meeting in Melbourne on Monday with 97 of 129 NPL clubs represented and while a quarter of those not signed are from the NPLCF, Canberra clubs remain interested.

NPLCF presidents largely agree with the concept but want more information before putting pen to paper.

Melbourne corporate strategist Tom Kalas was elected AAFC chairman on Monday and anticipates all 129 clubs will join in the coming weeks.

Kalas said drastic action had to be taken after Football Federation Australia announced in February that an A-League expansion would result in huge financial losses.

“They said the financial model is wrong and that announcement alarmed all of us because we’ve known for a while the whole concept of the A-League is built on the wrong premise,” Kalas said.

“We’re trying to be part of the football congress so we can discuss the ramifications of that financial model and outline that funding the top tier, which absorbs so much money, has implications all the way through.

“The cost of running clubs is borne by volunteers and we’re funding football from the bottom up. You just need to look at the AFL who subsidise junior football around the country.

“The club tier has been neglected and as a voice we’re trying to educate and remind people if we don’t fund the grassroots and change the model, football is not going to go forward.”

Woden-Weston FC president Steve Rohan-Jones agreed changes need to be made but believes funds are being appropriately allocated.

“The AFL get way more TV money than we do and have way less players, so it’s a lot harder for us,” Rohan-Jones said.

“While I agree we should be looking to grassroots and the clubs should have a role in suggesting where the money goes, I think as soon as we find out where it’s going we’ll say okay fair enough, it’s not like it’s being stewed away into people’s pockets.”

Kalas has spoken with both FIFA and the FFA this week and anticipates talks with federations from the states and territories will be completed over the next month.

“We had a conference call with FIFA on Tuesday night and they’ve never seen this anywhere on the planet and were not only impressed, but amazed,” Kalas said.

“They’re calling it the Australian spring in that clubs are flowering in their determination to be in a fully integrated football pyramid.

“Unequivocally we’re not a breakaway group, we want to work in collaboration with the FFA and federations to ensure the best outcome for football moving forward.”

Capital Football boss Phil Brown did not return calls to Fairfax Media on Thursday.