THE prospect of a breakaway A-League competition managed and run by the owners of the existing clubs is not as fanciful as the FFA might think.
After years of significant losses, some as much as $6 million each year by individual club owners, and A-League annual accumulated losses in excess of $28 million, understandably owners are running out of patience. For now it's all about control by the FFA and the fear that it might lose something, even though by holding on to the A-League it will eventually kill it off.
It is not a new concept for a structure appointed by the club owners to manage and run the professional league in a country.
After all, the English Premier League was founded on the same premise, where the clubs took over the running of the old League Division 1 from the Football League to form the EPL.
When it was formed the English FA cried foul. However, the results since control passed from the bureaucrats to the owners have been spectacular.
Many question the ability of a governing body to run all aspects of the game and the conflicting priorities they face when the responsibility stretches from junior game development through to World Cup campaigns and the compliance that is required by the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA.
The owners have been more than patient and the FFA must step back and allow this to happen so it can focus on what it is good at - running our national teams and game development.
FFA should keep the media rights to Socceroos games and any sponsorships it can derive.
A breakaway league would need to be sanctioned by the AFC, which is the body to which the FFA reports. Or the FFA could support the new league and the structure, just as the English FA did. If the owners of the A-League clubs want to make this a reality, then they will have to call the FFA's bluff.
My reading of the 10 A-League club owners is that there could be more than half who would like to be part of a structure that allowed them to be driving their own destiny. This group certainly has the business talent and money to make this a success.
Clearly the test is the past and what the FFA has achieved. There has been some progress but the financial plight of the governing body and the clubs is well documented and it does not read well. Sponsors and media will judge how the FFA manages the game and the current crisis, which ultimately affects the total value of the A-League brand.
With a TV and new media deal being integral to the future of the A-League, owners want to know they are getting the best possible result for their product.
They are concerned that based on a string of failed ventures and an inability by the FFA to deliver substantial added value to the A-League brand there will be less on the table when the media offers start rolling in.
The owners believe - and rightly so - that the revenues derived from the A-League through sponsorship and media rights would be more than enough to manage, promote, market and expand the game if the total value of these were applied directly to the A-League.
Long term this would be an outstanding investment for the owners: the A-League brand would grow and the media rights would become increasingly valuable.
Sponsors would flock to a new entity, owners would invest in building their clubs and they would infuse themselves further into the communities, all of which would deliver a larger audience that is starved of free-to-air viewing.
The A-League ownership group has significant intellect, money and desire. When it's your reputation and money on the line you look at things differently.
The new A-League with a new media deal, expansion plans, marquee players, professional referees and a developing brand profile would be a true competitor to the other codes.
The owners are asking for the opportunity to invest more money, be allowed to actually drive the business model and to be in charge of their own destiny.
Just as the Crawford report suggested.
Archie Fraser was head of the A-League in 2009-10.