APIA Leichhardt's FFA Cup boilover is more proof the talent base exists for an A-League second division, according to the man leading the push for one.
APIA's 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory has been hailed as one of the biggest upsets in the FFA Cup's short history - and the former National Soccer League club's finest hour since their 1987 title.
For the Association of Australian Football Clubs (AAFC), a lobby group representing the interests of dozens of state-level NPL clubs, it was further confirmation of what they already believe - that there are a wealth of players, coaches and clubs outside of the A-League who are good enough to play at a national level.
"If the FFA Cup has shown one thing, it's that there are clubs who can compete," AAFC chairman Rabieh Krayem told AAP.
"And in the right environment, the big NPL clubs can compete in a national second division.
"There's no doubt the standard of the NPL has improved dramatically.
"If the players are given the opportunities to play in a professional environment, the gap (between the A-League and NPL) will get even closer."
If Krayem and the AAFC they get their way, a national second tier competition will be up and running in 2020.
That's the new target date for the AAFC's ambitious 'Championship' proposal, which was launched late last year.
Football Federation Australia had initially reacted with skepticism to their blueprint, but later helped form a working group with the A-League clubs, Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), the state federations and AAFC to assess the viability of a second tier.
In future it could serve as the basis for promotion and relegation with the A-League.
The working group met last month and Krayem said "robust" discussions took place over the financial model that was presented.
AAFC will now enter more formal one-on-one talks with the PFA, before a 'workshop' in October when interested National Premier Leagues clubs from around the country would be invited to put their views forward.
FFA was approached for comment, but the governing body will not speak publicly about the prospects of a second division until the ongoing congress saga is resolved.
But Krayem said there was a unanimous view from all involved that a second division must happen. The question now is what it looks like.
"We're getting closer to the right model," he said.
"The PFA have been very much open-minded about the whole process, like everyone else has been."
Australian Associated Press