There are many who felt that the All Flags State Premier League desperately needed a re-vamp, and that the opportunity was missed when Football was restructured in Australia. It looks like the changes are just around the corner and they could well be dramatic with the Premier league looking a very different place next season.
Many clubs have struggled to cope with the disparity in financial demands of players in comparison to their ability. Sadly this is the clubs’ own fault, you cannot spend what you do not have.
The Global Financial Crisis, despite what our State and Federal Governments will have you believe has bitten in Western Australia. Sponsorship dollars are harder to come by.
The lack of promotion of the All Flags State Premier League fixtures has also had an impact with numbers at games the lowest in years, and well below “the approx. 200’ on the match reports. However the crowd at the Balcatta v Perth game showed that people will come and watch.
One of the killers this season has been the reforms that the clubs were expected to implement within a certain timeframe. Some may say that it is the clubs own fault if they have not progressed with these venue upgrades, others will say that they were unreasonable in this current economic climate.
There are several key questions that need to be asked and if they have been asked then the responses communicated to the wider footballing public. Why were the standards that existed allowed to slip in the first place? (E.g. a tunnel for players and officials to enter the field of play?) Why was funding not sought from the Department of Sport and Recreation or the local councils by the games governing body to assist the clubs in these areas to be able to meet the financial demands of the required upgrades? The last is, were these ground upgrades the most pressing issue in the game at the moment, in order to help restore the State League to former glories?
Whatever the answers to those questions, the truth is it appears that two current State League Premier Clubs may well step down before next season, Armadale and the Western Knights; The latter having won the minor Premiership in the past two years and the second most successful team in the league in the past ten years. Sure other teams will step and replace them, but should these clubs have lost that status and now run the risk of extinction. Like them or not Armadale is one of if not the best supported clubs on the road, and would contribute to all clubs bar profits.
Change is constant of that there is no doubt, clubs have not moved with the times, but it is sad that two clubs who have earned the right to compete at the highest level have to relinquish that right for reasons that have very little to do with football. Let us hope that more clubs are not forced to follow suit.