Northern Fury chairman Rabieh Krayem has fired back at comments made by Melbourne Victory founder Tony Ising over the mooted National Second Division.
Krayem is part of the group pushing for the initiative, the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC). It consists of 80 National Premier League (NPL) clubs, who are lobbying to have a seat on the Football Federation Australia (FFA) board.
Victory founder Ising blasted the move on For Vuck’s Sake, describing it as a “power play”.
“Let’s make it very clear at the outset – this has nothing to do with football, nothing to do with junior development, nothing to do with elite pathways and has everything to do with a power play. This is 100% about the base of power in Australian football,” he said.
“The base of power in Australian football used to rest with the top tier clubs in the NSL.
“We all know that is now no longer the case and there are certain former NSL clubs who can’t handle that fact… They’ve tried everything in their grasp to wield power back.”
But speaking exclusively on Thursday’s Daily Football Show, Krayem fired back, insisting the push was not about power.
“I think Tony Ising should get his facts right and clearly understand where the NPL clubs sit,” Krayem said.
“We play a key part in the development of the game between community clubs into a semi-professional player ground and off into the A-League.
“I think the member federations, the state federations, represent the community clubs and in particular in Queensland, the NPL clubs don’t have a voice.
“We can’t decide, we can’t vote for any board members at Football Queensland. We run in isolation.
“Yes, we might only represent 3%, but we do represent 3% of the kids who are deemed to go to the next level of the game.
“I think Tony’s got it completely wrong when he says it’s a power game, it’s got nothing to do with power.
“This is purely about not repairing the past, this is about growing the future of football and we see the NPL clubs … as an integral part.
“In particular, the growth in a second tier competition that will help grow the game.”
The AAFC is due to meet again on 20 March.