Wollongong Wolves chief executive Strebre Delovski has assured fans the club will be ready to join Football Australia's (FA) proposed national second division in 2023.
The logistics of starting a second tier has been discussed at the FA for some time, the Wolves being at the forefront of conversations for a number of years.
Delovski said the Wolves have been in constant talks with National Premier League (NPL) competition advocates, the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), who are in constant talks with the FA, in order to be ready to join a second division competition.
"Whatever time it goes ahead, 2023 or later, the club is preparing itself to be part of that competition. The most important thing is that this is done right and not rushed through," he said.
"We've always said whether it is direct qualification into the A-Leagues or joining a national second division, the region deserves representation at the highest level. We're not losing sight of direct qualification into the A-Leagues but a second division would be a massive step."
Last week FA released its official timelines for its domestic match calendar between October 2022 to October 2023, with a placeholder between March and September 2023 included for the establishment of a new men's national second tier.
We're not losing sight of direct qualification into the A-Leagues but a second division would be a massive step.- Wolves CEO Strebre Delovski
Delovski said the club was currently exploring all opportunities including support from major stakeholders to support the increase in costs for the club, should they join the second tier, and would continue to boost community engagement to grow its supporter base to make the venture worthwhile.
"Significant investment is required to compete in a national second division, compared to what is currently being invested. It is an exciting time to be involved with the Wolves, and we need people to go to the games and support the club now more than ever," he said.
"There's no point having this go ahead without support. For us we need those bums on seats, we need that corporate and government investment to be able to participate."
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