There is one week to go until clubs in Western Australia have to submit their contracts to be a part of the much-hyped yet lacking in financial or marketing information, National Premier Leagues (NPL).
Discussions have been held, answers have been sought, but few, if any of the clubs are 100% convinced that this is in fact the best thing for the game. Football West have been clever to continually push that they will discuss issues indvidually with clubs rather than as a collective. This way no one knows what any club has been promised or allowed; as the criteria to be in the league which was supposed to be set in stone, now has some ‘latitude.’
So what are these promises or compromises worth at the end of the day?
The answer is simple, absolutely nothing.
Within the fine print of the NPL contract that clubs are to submit there is a clause which reads as follows:
“In lodging this application the Club has not relied upon any representations made by Football West and has made its own interpretations and conclusions;”
Not The Footy Show has taken legal consultation on this clause, and the advice received was that even if a club has a promise in writing from any employee at Football West in relation to the NPL, the game’s governing body can go back on that promise thanks to this clause, claiming that this was how you interpreted the communication, but was not what was meant by them.
One key question that every club should ask is if this was a clear cut contract to enter the NPL and all of the rules, requirements were clear as well as the financial structures, and the marketing plan to increase both participation numbers and spectators, why would such a clause be needed? Such an inclusion is hardly the basis for trust.
Time will tell how many clubs have read the fine print, and how many decide to submit anyway. It will also tell how many will regret that decision.
With so many questions still left unanswered and clubs being asked to stake their future on a ‘leap of faith’ the best solution for the future of the game has to be to postpone this for one year and make sure that every club is 100% happy with all facets of the new competition rather than pushing ahead and clubs only submitting for fear of missing out. Decisions based on fear are rarely the best ones.