The deadline day for state league clubs wishing to enter the NPL, the FFA’s revamp of the State leagues around the country. The Western Australian model still has many questions unanswered, but it looks as if the game’s administrators attitude of staring the clubs down may well have paid dividends.
Earlier in the week the clubs made an official approach to the board via the Standing Committee for the NPL to be put on hold until their questions could be answered. This was the first major request made to the board in approximately five years, yet they still chose to ignore the stakeholders or even meet them halfway. This move has done little to improve relations between the administrators and the clubs.
Why the board would not listen is quite baffling, clubs can only speculate on the reasons; Had they made a promise to the FFA and feel they would look foolish if they backed down? With the FA wanting to seal a national sponsorship deal by mid July that looks the most obvious reason, however such a deal in fact puts a number of clubs futures in jeopardy as their lease agreements with their local councils does not allow them to have a third party supply sponsorship on their behalf. One thing is clear some members of the current board have become too involved in the implementation of the NPL and have lost the objectivity required to hold a privileged position on the board. The feeling is that this issue is far from over.
The majority of clubs are not happy with the NPL document as it stands but are afraid they may miss out and they owe their members the right to continue to compete at the highest level, and so although on a personal level they would never sign such a document, they are prepared lodge an application for their clubs. Why is it that when it comes to sport rational thought frequently is abandoned?
Despite submitting applications one feels that there may well be a twist in the tale, that certain clauses may be left blank or deleted due to the fact that Football West has failed to address these issues with clear and precise answers. As the author of the document they should be the ones making interpretation clear, rather that stating that the interpretation is down to the clubs.
This may well void the applications. It may also show if Football West wants the NPL to go ahead next year, with the majority of traditional clubs, despite receiving applications by the required deadline they may well still have a fair bit of negotiating to do. If that is the case this will undoubtedly have an impact on the launch of the new league in nine months time.
This whole affair could have been handled so much better had the League been discussed and structured properly and the game’s administrators engaged in worthwhile dialogue rather than towing a party line given out by the FFA.