Posts tagged ‘State Premier League’
Football clubs in Western Australia who are not part of the much-talked about National Premier Leagues (NPL) competition in 2014 are currently being left in limbo.
With one club that was in the State Premier League being omitted from the NPL, Bunbury Forum Force, and their place being taken by second division Subiaco, the clubs in Division one are waiting to hear who will be in their competition and even how it will be branded. The delay on this it would appear has occurred for a number of reasons. The first being Football West’s delay in sending out the participation agreements to those selected for the NPL. They need to receive these back before ether can confirm that all twelve clubs selected will indeed compete in the new competition. In addition clubs who have submitted to be a part of the Saturday division two competition will have a great deal of work to do.
The General Manager, Competitions and Operations at Football West, Keith Wood sent an email to clubs waiting to be admitted into the Saturday competition dated 01 November which apologised for the lack of news and explained the reasons for the delay, “Our original intention is to have the recommendation ready for the October board meeting for endorsement. However, unfortunately, the October Board meeting was postponed a couple of times due to the unavailability of several Board members, and this meeting has still not taken place.”
His email continues,”We’re acutely aware that your club is desperate to know the outcome of its application and to that end, the CEO has requested that the Board endorse the recommendation by circular email. Obviously this takes a bit longer as questions that would normally be asked and answered in a board meeting and further discussed as a group, now have to be asked individually, copied in to all Board members and then discussed via email. This is clearly dependent on when people have the opportunity to read emails and it does delay the process. Nevertheless, we are committed to get the endorsement of the Board as quickly as possible, and as soon as the Board has endorsed the recommendation, all clubs – both successful and unsuccessful – will be notified at the earliest possible moment by formal email. These notifications has already been drafted to save time.”
That email was sent almost a fortnight ago, and the clubs still have not heard.
Unfortunately Board members do have work commitments that come up and that are unavoidable, but with meetings held on the same day in the same week of every month it is very rare to not be able to achieve a quorum in order to make such decisions. One would have also thought that the first meeting at the end of the season would be one of the most important to attend.
It does seem strange that clubs are still having to wait to hear their fate. It puts them in an awkward position in terms of attracting sponsorship, attracting players and planning for next season, as the month of December is a virtual right off in terms off being able to find people willing to make decisions. Which leaves just two months until the NPL is due to start at the beginning of March.
If there were concerns that the league was being rushed before, they may well be justified unless a great deal of progress is not made in the next few weeks.
Prior to the deadline for applications for the NPL in Western Australia closing concerns were raised in relation to the fact that the participation criteria in each state differed. If this was to truly be a National Premier League competition that was to be the next tier down from the Hyundai A-League why did the conditions on admission vary in each state? This is one of the facts that the Melbourne clubs have raised in protest against Football Victoria.
The application process for what has been billed as the most revolutionary change to game in twenty years one would have expected to be the hardest part of the process. Initially deciding on what were the key criteria that each club must meet and then checking each application to make sure that clubs could in fact deliver what they had promised in their applications.
If this is a truly national competition, as it is being hailed, one would have assumed that the licensing agreements for those clubs chosen to participate in the new league would have been drawn up months ago and would have been uniform across the country. Once again this would appear not to be the case.
On the 27th of August Football West announced the 12 clubs destined to be playing in the inaugural NPL season in Western Australia. Following a couple of meetings the clubs were advised that they would receive the licensing agreements by October 15th, and that they must sign them and return them to Football West by the October 30th. As yet no club has received the licensing agreement.
This is a concern as the league is due to start in the first or second week of March 2014, and clubs still do not know exactly what they are expected to deliver. Concerns existed previously about the NPL being rushed through to meet FFA requirements with the Asian Football Confederation, once again concerns are beginning to surface as clubs question whether the new structures can indeed be delivered in such a short time frame.
Bunbury Forum Force were the only side playing in the State Premier League to be excluded from the new NPL format, and following some questionable procedures in the application process sought a hearing with the probity committee to raise their concerns over the process. This committee was made up of one Football West board member and one former board member. The decision not to have someone with no links to the game’s administration again raised eyebrows.
Following that hearing a report on the meeting was promised within a set timeframe. This was not met. Bunbury were given a new timeframe in which they would receive this report, this too has passed and Bunbury still have not received a report on a meeting held almost three weeks ago!
If clubs miss deadlines they suffer the consequences, points are deducted, and fines imposed. It would appear that the administrators whose sole job it is to stay on top of such administrative duties, can miss important deadlines at will. What makes these two issues harder to understand is that the season at all levels of the game has finished so there should be nothing impeding the delivery of these reports.
With the Probity hearing, if one of those chairing the hearing is to supply the report, and they now find themselves too busy why did they not have a third party recording the events in the five hour meeting, so that they could then edit this accurate account of the meeting into a report?
Should the clubs be concerned at these failures to meet deadlines by the full time administrators of the game? Many feel questions need to be asked as to why this has been allowed to happen. Also whether the timelines to which the clubs must commit and comply to be a part of the NPL for 2014 are now becoming too short for the competition to be marketed and promoted in a way that will bring in more supporters.
The clubs pay fees to the games administrators, Football West, so should they not expect a certain level of service in return? The clubs certainly deserve respect and that deadlines given by the administration are met by the administration.
Despite these concerns, rest assured the NPL will commence in 2014, even if all 12 teams originally chosen fail to commit. The FFA have promised this competition, so it must happen.
In amongst the Perth Glory’s pre-season fixtures are two games listed against a WA State Team, a fixture that has become a regular one in recent years. A fixture that although it may not be popular with the Perth Glory coaches as State League players try and prove a point is a game that is important to the game as a whole.
The timing of these games is however not the best. The first game scheduled for August 21st comes in between round 20 and 21 of the State Premier League, a competition that has a total of 22 fixtures before the finals series.
It is going to put both players and clubs in a very awkward position. Clubs will suffer criticism if they do not allow a player to have the honour of representing his state, and the players will be torn between staying with their club and ensuring they make the finals, or avoid relegation, and will know that this could actually be a distraction. Also with the game being played on a Tuesday night training evening, it will again put unnecessary pressure on all concerned as to what is the right thing to do.
As the home and away season finishes on the 8th of September and the second game is to be played on Wednesday 12th, one wonders if Football West is planning a week off before the finals for this game, if not again the top sides will be loathe to release players, and it creates an awkward situation. if so why not play the game on the Saturday?
These issues aside, one that needs to be addressed is whether this team is going to be a legitimate State team, or is it in fact going to be a State League Team; an issue Not the Footy Show raised a year ago.
Last year the side was made up of almost 50% visa players and therefore should have been a State League side. To play for Western Australia the criteria always was that you had to be an Australian citizen or at least have permanent residency. It is a huge honour to play for Western Australia and this honour in respect of those who have gone before should not be diluted.
The other reason why it should be a State team with no imports is this game is supposed to be the chance for the best players in the state to show the Perth Glory coaching staff that they have what it takes to be given a chance in the Hyundai A league. With a limit on visa spots in the A league; a foreign player playing in a State competition is going to have to be an absolute stand out or a low cost option for an A League coach to sign them. Most would rather sign talented local players and rely on filling the visa spots with players with proven track records.
Tradition in sport is essential, history is what the future is built on, and we must protect that past to safeguard the future. It is therefore important that the difference as to whether this is a State Team or a State League team comprising of the best players in the League should be made clear early on and when the game is played.
It is a relief that the transfer window in the State League in Western Australia has finally closed. It seems crazy that with more than half the season gone players were still able to change clubs. This situation needs to be looked at and players should be locked in earlier in the season, and possibly a one-week window opened at the halfway point so players who are not getting game time can explore the possibility of changing to a club that will give them a start, or clubs can find cover for injured players.
However these were the rules this season, and you work within those rules. What has been disappointing, and many clubs are raising this issue, is that despite signs at every ground with the word “Respect” emblazoned on it, some clubs or coaches have showcased a complete lack of respect for their fellow coaches or their fellow clubs.
What has been happening is coaches have been approaching players directly to try and entice them to their club; we must state that this is not the case at all clubs. It has always been the unwritten rule that before speaking to a player, the coach or the club making the approach would contact the club or coach they wish to take the player from and ask if it was all right to talk to them. In most cases clubs would advise the player and allow him to talk to them if he wished to hear what was on offer. This season that common courtesy has been thrown out of the window, and that is a very sad day for the game.
The reason given by one club, was that the player concerned was not on a professional contract so therefore was ‘fair game.’ That may well be the case but if the game is to improve its standing and reputation there needs to be standards that are adhered to and respect shown to fellow clubs and coaches. This attitude is both selfish and ultimately undermines the many people trying to do things the right way.
Finally, it is only right to lay some blame at the feet of certain players who willingly open dialogue with a club while still being paid by another and not advising their current employer of the approach. Players will always be “tapped” as to whether they may consider a move, but once an official move is being considered the coaches and the clubs should talk to each other, and only then should the player discuss terms.
Hopefully this behavior, which seems to have been more prevalent this year, will soon be stamped out, as it is ultimately not helping the game and shows a complete lack of respect, something we are all trying to bring back to football.
When the FFA announced that they intended to have all of their development sides playing in the top competitions of each state, we applauded the concept and were sure that this would ultimately benefit the game as a whole.
Now in its second year in Western Australia, we have grave doubts over the idea.
The lower age structure of the NTC should not be tampered with as it has proven that it is paying dividends with the Under Age sides from Western Australia performing superbly in national age-restricted competitions. This has been extremely positive and has also resulted in WA having more players considered for the Australian Institute of Sport program than previously; a Program that will hopefully improve under the guidance of Tony Vidmar, as it stalled under the control of Dutch coach Jan Versleijen.
The question that arises when it comes to the NTC side playing the in State Premier League is whether it is benefitting all concerned, and whether it is in fact making the players better players.
This season 14 games into the Premier League the NTC have not won a game. Last year was a similar story. If these players are ready for the next step these would not be the results. Losing every week cannot be good for any young player, and we have been advised that some have stated that they no longer are enjoying the game. Which is sad and ultimately could see a young talent walk away from the game, which surely defeats the object of the whole NTC program.
Once these boys reach 17 years of age would these players not be better off playing with grown men rather than against them? Imagine if Ryan Giggs have been held back in the youth team at Manchester United, along with David Beckham and Paul Scholes or Wayne Rooney at Everton, how would their games have progressed?
Pele and Norman Whiteside were playing in World Cup finals at 17. These two players may well be exceptions but it proves that if you are good enough, you’re old enough.
The NTC does serve a vital role in bringing through young talent, but at 17 that talent should be set free. If the A League clubs have spotted a player’s talent, and they should be looking at these boys from the time they are 13 or 14, then they should pick them up and continue their development – Although we believe you have to be 18 to sign for an A league club, but they could be signed to their youth set up.
If the boys have faith in their own abilities and are overlooked in Australia then they can head overseas and try their luck, and should they obtain a contract then the NTC has achieved another success.
Some players however will mature late, and some may never make it to the next level, so the highest they will ever play is in the State League, where they could undoubtedly shine.
By delaying their entry into a man’s world are we not in fact stunting these players development? By having them take the field each weekend and lose are we not destroying their enjoyment of the game? These and other questions need to be asked and considered seriously, before we lose these players to the game completely. It certainly would appear that what appeared to be a good idea is one that is in fact currently helping very few.
The signs appear to be positive for the A League if recent statistics are the measuring stick.
The FFA announced that a cumulative total of 1,416,157 fans went through the turnstiles this season to watch games is up on the previous season-high total of 1,393,933.
This aggregate was reached by playing 30 less matches due to the demise of North Queensland Fury.
This season also saw an increase in the number of goals being scored with an average of 2.7 goals per match. The television audiences have also increased by a massive 46% from last season, which seems a huge leap if so many people are also watching games live.
The feeling amongst many is that these figures are being skewed to give the results everyone wants to hear. That football is indeed on the rise in Australia.
It is interesting to note that every year since the A League’s inception, with the exception of 2008/09 we have seen an increase in crowd figures.
Yet the average attendances have in fact gone down the past two years from 12,180 a game in 08/09 to 10,449 in 09/10 to 8,822 in 10/11. The figures for 2010/11 have yet to be announced.
This season it was sad to hear many in the crowd laugh when a figure was announced at NIB Stadium, home of Perth Glory, as regulars in the ground were convinced that there was no way the crowd figure announced was in attendance.
There is no doubt that the return of Harry Kewell and Bret Emerton had a momentary surge on crowd figures, but soon that would have dipped, as their impact became less than the FFA would have hoped. It was always foolish to base your marketing around to big names returning at the end of their careers. There is too much football on television for modern day fans to be conned.
Despite the positive vibe coming out of the FFA we are sadly skeptical as to whether these statistics are in fact reflecting the true story of the Hyundai A league.
Perth Glory for years the best supported club in the country in the NSL, had no trouble selling 35,000 tickets for a semi final in the NSL. Yet this weekend playing their first home final since the start of the Hyundai A League they only managed to pull in 12,600 fans – The Western Force rugby union side had a bigger crowd v the Queensland Reds the night before! This crowd is a disaster for football in Western Australia and for Perth Glory. If they cannot fill the stadium with finals football, why would an owner continue to plough millions of dollars into the club?
Some will say the game wasn’t marketed well. We would agree, but the finger cannot be pointed at the club on this occasion, as the marketing of the Finals is the FFA’s responsibility.
The fact that so few attended and that they could not sell out the stadium tells us that Football is going backwards in Western Australia. That may sound pessimistic and negative, but it is also the very sad truth. Quite simply fans of the game for whatever reason are opting not to support the game at the highest level in Western Australia.
Next week’s game against Wellington Phoenix may in fact witness even less fans attending with the game scheduled for 5.30pm on a Saturday, when all the State Premier League games do not finish until around 5pm. Scheduling that does not help Perth Glory in the slightest.
So why are people no longer attending games? We believe that despite the hype the standard of the Hyundai A league is in fact going backwards. There have been some exceptional displays from Perth Glory this season, as well as Brisbane Roar, but in the main the standard is slipping. Couple that with the demise of the Fury and possibly Gold Coast United – and everyone forgets the NZ Knights – we are heading back to the sad old days of the NSL. Journeyman players doing the rounds of the clubs, sprinkled with some talent before it heads overseas, and clubs coming and going every two or three years. Let us hope we are wrong.
Do you believe that the standard of football has improved?
It was back on May the 18th of 2011 that “Not the Footy Show” broke the story about Perth Glory’s intention to take over Inglewood United (“Glory in State League”) and have a team in the Western Australian State league. This now appears to be a reality.
As stated then we worried that this would be pushed through and not be given adequate thought, and it appears that this could well be the case.
“Not the Footy Show” understands that Perth Glory’s Recruitment Manager Graham Normanton will be the man at the helm with former Glory legend Bobby Despotovski involved with the coaching.
It is “Not the Footy Show’s” understanding that at the Football West AGM in December a representative of Inglewood United attending chose to say nothing on the matter when it was raised, and at a recent state league club Presidents meeting again information on how this arrangement is to work was again not forthcoming.
Having made a few phone calls “Not The Footy Show” has been advised by legal experts involved in the sporting sphere, that Football West acting on behalf of the FFA who in turn act on behalf of FIFA, have every right, and are in fact obliged to request complete disclosure as to the arrangements between the two parties before allowing the newly created ‘Inglewood Glory’ to compete.
Apparently a fully professional privately owned club buying into a semi- professional club – be it community based or otherwise – in another competition falls under the auspices of Competition Law, and all financial arrangements and structures must be disclosed to the game’s governing body, to ensure that true and perfect practice in its operations are carried out.
This makes perfect sense. This is for the protection of all concerned. It prevents the professional club putting untold pressure on young players to come and play for them with the hook of a possible full time contract. That is not good for the League, the clubs or the players concerned.
As stated back in May there is merit in this move, but it should not be rushed and for it to be accepted in 2012 is far too soon. There are many things that need to be disclosed and discussed before such a move should be accepted.
For example should the club be allowed to take its place in the State League competition when player compensation payments to those very same clubs who have developed players that they have signed have not been paid for three years?
This should certainly be a part of the agreement. The games governing body, in this case Football West should be insisting that such payments be made before the team is allowed to participate.
Such a move should not be rushed through, if it is it could cause irreparable damage to both the State League, which is already struggling, and also Perth Glory.