The NPL WA finals get underway this weekend, and it was great to see a full page advertisement in the West Australian promoting the games. It will be interesting to see if it has an impact at the gate. Had the whole season been promoted the impact you feel would have been greater, but it was good to see nonetheless.
Followers of football will be well aware that the reason for the National Premier Leagues competition around the country was to satisfy a promise made by the Football Federation of Australia that they would have a second tier competition to the A-League by 2013. This, and the FFA Cup were two non-negotiables on Australia being admitted in the Asian Football Confederation.
The FFA had done very little by way of preparation for either competition and that was why they were rushed through at the last minute and not necessarily as well thought through as they should have been. The AFC was threatening to withdraw one of the A-League club’s Asian Champions League spots if Australia did not deliver on its promise. So prompt action was needed.
As reported previously the FFA submitted its document to the AFC outlining the new NPL structure before Western Australian teams had been decided. That is how rushed it was.
Even so, one would expect that competition rules around the country would be uniform, wouldn’t you?
Let us not forget that the game is supposed to have some of the best sports administrators working for it now, and many are paid far greater salaries than those who preceded them, so why is it that something that should be so simple is made so difficult?
To qualify for the National Premier Leagues finals to determine the overall Champion of Australia, in Western Australia Perth SC will be our representative, having finished top of the league ladder after the home and away season.
That would appear quite clear and simple, except that in 2014 when Bayswater City were the representatives from Western Australia, they qualified by winning the Grand Final.
To complicate matters further Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory have had the rule that the team that finished top of their competitions will be their representatives.
Each top team does qualify for the NPL interstate series, however in some states so too do the winners of the Finals series, who are called the Champions of the NPL. In New South Wales they will have the team that wins their Top Five finals series representing them. Last year the NPL Champion of Australia was Blacktown City they were the NSW Premiers having come top of the League while Bonnyrigg White Eagles were Champions having won the finals series. Confused?
In Queensland they are having a Top Four competition to decide their representative.
Victoria and South Australia are both having a Top Six finals series to decide their teams. Yet even that is not as simple as it should be, as the qualification process to make the Grand final in each competition is completely different!
Football thrives because its essence is so simple. That is why so many people play the game; although now there are many who play purely for the money they can make. Why is it that administrators have to make it so complicated? Why is it if the NPL is a national competition all of the rules are not standard across the country, including how teams qualify for the climax of the season?
With apologies to Arnold Palmer, it appears that football is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated.(Palmer said this about Golf).