SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia aim to introduce a new knockout tournament for up to 700 teams based on England’s prestigious FA Cup model by next year, FFA chief executive David Gallop said on Wednesday.
Gallop said that work was still to be done on the planning for the tournament but that he had made it a priority since he joined Football Federation Australia in November.
“The first day on the job when someone told me about it I said ‘what are we doing about it?'” Gallop told an AAP Sports Conference in Sydney.
”There will be six or seven hundred teams involved and we all know about the FA Cup, we all get up for it, the chance for those (lesser) teams to come through.
“The FFA Cup will happen. There is a lot of work being done on it and there are some challenges involved.”
The English FA Cup, the oldest association football tournament in the world, has a straight knockout format open to both amateur and professional teams with sides from the Premier League given a bye to the third round.
Australia’s A-League already combines both the league and knockout elements with the champions decided after a playoff series at the end of the regular season.
Gallop said that they were aiming for the inaugural final to take place on Australia Day in 2015 - January 26 - with a similar seeding for the 10 A-League clubs.
“It will start around this time of the year and the A-League clubs will come in around September and October to coincide with the start of the A-League season,” he added.
Football is enjoying a boom in Australia, with the arrival of marquee international players like Alessandro Del Piero and Shinji Ono helping to focus attention back on the pitch after a wave of negative headlines surrounding the country’s failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore, editing by Nick Mulvenney