It’s not about winning, it’s about development. That has been the catch cry in football for the past few years since the introduction of the National Premier Leagues, But is it really?
Today Bayswater City have the chance to make history in Western Australia when they compete for the title of National Premier Leagues Champion. We wish them all the best and are sure they will do Western Australia proud.
Bayswater have for the past two seasons, under the guidance of coach Chris Coyne, been far and away the best side in the state. This season they played 22 games won 19, drew three and lost none. The season before they won 16, drew three and lost three. So having lost only three games in two seasons have proved they are up there with some of the great teams in Western Australia.
The reward for Bayswater’s success has been the chance to play in the FFA Cup and also to play in the National Premier Leagues play offs. This should be their chance to earn some money that will in turn help them develop as a club, but sadly so far this has not been the case at all.
In the FFA Cup as all games must be played midweek, and the club’s lack of floodlights, they were forced to play at the Athletics Stadium in 2014.
Last year in the NPL finals, as was the case again in 2015, they had to fly to Adelaide and play their first match. In this competition the FFA picked up the airfares and one night’s accommodation. The game was played on the Sunday and so Bayswater had to fly over on the Saturday and then were unable to get back to Perth after the game so had to buy the second night’s accommodation and the players and coaches, had to take a day off work on the Monday.
Last week, having won that game, the club was allowed to play at their home ground Frank Drago Reserve even though the pitch is apparently too narrow. This is a bizarre situation as FIFA rules state that the minimum length of a pitch must be 90m (100yds) and the maximum 12om (130yds). The width of the pitch must be a minimum of 45m (50yds) and a maximum of 90m (100yds). Bayswater’s pitch certainly appears to be the minimum requirement. Also how come it is OK one week and not the next, Surely rules are rules to be adhered to by all teams?
Incredibly having gone to the official NPL website there is nothing to state the required size of a pitch in this competition. Also having read three State governing bodies’ NPL rules of competition, again there is absolutely no mention about the size of the pitch. So quite why Bayswater have had to move their game to Perth SC’s Dorrien Gardens is baffling. Was it really the pitch size? Or was it in truth the FFA wanting the game played on a Saturday night so that Blacktown City could fly over on Saturday play in the evening, fly home on Sunday and all be at work on Monday. No extra costs to their club, if this was really the case.
On Saturday night the game will be played at another club’s ground, Dorrien Gardens home of Perth SC. On a night when the club should be reaping the rewards of their success and generating money that they can use to develop the club, they are again going to be asking what has it all been for.
With the game played in the evening after the Grand Final of the AFL, some were worried that they would not get the crowd that this final warrants, so a decision was made to offer a two-for-one deal to those coming to the game; In effect diluting the revenue generated as a high percentage of those using the vouchers would probably have gone anyway. It would be interesting to see if they actually ask people using the vouchers that question, to ascertain the success of the venture.
With Perth SC keeping the revenue from the bar and food, all Bayswater are left with are the gate receipts. If they win the match they receive an additional $5000. Which seems a paltry amount to be crowned the national champion in what the FFA bill as the second tier competition in the country.
The Kudos of being named the best club in the country is of course massive. Yet it does not help pay the bills. It certainly does not help a club underpin their success. If on top of the cost of participating in the FFA Cup and the NPL finals players have bonuses written into their contracts based on the clubs success, the club’s involvement sadly ends up costing them money. Surely that is not how these competitions were meant to operate?
Bayswater have proven they are a well run club, but one has to ask how many other clubs in Western Australia could have coped financially in the same situation.
Let us hope Bayswater can lift the title tonight and in doing so they help raise the profile of the game in the media, which in turn brings in more sponsorship, which is crucially passed down to the clubs, to help them stay at the top, and continue to develop.
Good Luck Bayswater!