The Football community in Western Australia is currently playing a poker game in relation to the proposed NPL (National Premier Leagues) which is due to commence in 2014.
There are still many questions over the content of the contract that the clubs are to sign should they wish to be considered for this new league; a league which is being touted as improving football in Australia. It would appear that answers will not be forthcoming before the deadline at the end of the week, so clubs will have to decide whether to, as Football West CEO Peter Hugg keeps putting it, ‘take a leap of faith,’ or stand firm and wait until pertinent answers are given.
The trouble is just like a game of poker clubs have for years always looked to see what everyone else is doing before showing their hands. The same may well be the case this week. Who will submit? Who won’t? If they don’t where will that leave the League next year?
One key concern is that the application form is in fact a contract. No where does it state that if your club’s application is successful can you decline to be a part of the league, although the CEO has verbally said that this will not be the case. To be fair neither does it say that you are locked into the new league. Clarity on such an issue needs to be in writing. As if only the bare minimum of eight teams apply and most of the traditional clubs decide against applying, many current Premier League clubs who do apply may wish to withdraw their applications. They will understandably want to continue to play against their traditional rivals rather than some new team who meets the FFA or Football West Criteria who has gained a berth in the new competition. With no definite ‘get-out clause’ and to save embarrassment would and could Football West force them to remain in the NPL as per the contract? The clubs have been left in no doubt that the governing body wants this league to start next season come what may.
Do not forget the clause that exists in this contract, “In lodging this application the Club has not relied upon any representations made by Football West and has made its own interpretations and conclusions.”
This is just one of the many questions left unanswered, and leaves clubs in a very precarious position.
To see a league without traditional rivalries which have been built up over the past forty of fifty years will have an impact on the competition and the clubs themselves. These are the games where they have the opportunity to make a bit of money. To be in the new league without those rivals and have to play a new team in a new region will not have the same appeal, and new rivalries take a time to grow.
The key question clubs need to ask is would they sign a personal contract with so many key issues unanswered?
There is no doubt it promises to be an interesting end to the week with office bearers facing some tough decisions.