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A-League has radical plans to introduce promotion and relegation

The system would not come in for at least five years, but Lowy says it's the only way the A-League can gain respect abroad.

The billionaire said it was likely the eight-team A-League would grow to only 10 teams for 2009-10 season, rather than the 12 mooted by FFA chief executive Ben Buckley.

New Gold Coast and Townsville franchises are set to be introduced next year, while second teams for Sydney and Melbourne will likely have to wait until 2010-11.

"I think the first (expansion) will be 10, because with Sydney and Melbourne we need the clubs to agree to it because they have a five-year moratorium," Lowy said.

"I think to absorb four teams at the one time may just be a little hard . . . we don't want to take those risks."

Lowy also suggested 12 teams was just a stepping stone. "Why stop at 12? The sky is blue, the future is great," he said.

The Asian Football Confederation this week kept Australia's representation to two spots in next season's Asian Champions League, handing Iran four and India one in the new 32-team format.

It rated Australia seventh of 46 AFC member associations, according to criteria such as governance and stadiums.

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