It has been a tough week for football in Western Australia what with the departure of Alistair Edwards as coach of Perth Glory, the delay in announcing the interim coach, Kenny Lowe who will be confirmed today at training along with his assistant Andy Ord. There was the CEO making calming statements and then the owner inflammatory ones. There was the Football West AGM, which apparently saw not a single club attend; A week before Christmas is not the best time for such a meeting and sadly many clubs have resigned themselves to the fact that they are no longer listened to, and hence do not attend.
Today the ‘NPL Competition Rules Draft 2’ were released. Clubs were invited to submit any comments on any of the points in the draft by Friday 10 January 2014. This is means that the rules for a competition that has been on the table for over a year are still not likely to be formalised until about one month before the competition starts!
With no clubs believed to have signed the participation agreements for the NPL, where does that leave the competition? If no one signs, will the clubs simply go ahead and play under the old rules and allow the league to be branded as the NPL while they sort out the competition rules and other issues? If no one signs the participation agreement and the competition commences based on last years rules surely then Bunbury Forum Force would have every right to demand their top flight position back?
With so much to sort out, including a marketing plan to draw in the new fans who are supposed to be attracted by the re-branding of the league, it seems odd that Football West would close down its offices today and not re-open them until 06 January 2014. If everything was in place that would be fine but there is work to be done, and as the game’s administrators is that not what you signed up for when you accepted roles in the organisation?
One thing is for sure they will undoubtedly be busy when they come back. One thing that will definitely need to be sorted out is the proposed finals series for each divisions of the NPL. At the moment the format sees one team win even if it loses, which may actually suit it better.
In the draft document it reads as follows:
Week 1 Team finishing 1st has a bye
Match A Team finishing 2nd vs Team finishing 5th
Match B Team finishing 3rd vs Team finishing 4th
The lowest ranked loser from matches A and B is eliminated Week 2
Surely this means that the team that finishes 2nd has absolutely nothing to play for, as win or lose they will progress to the semi finals? If they win they progress, if they lose they will progress as the highest ranked loser. Hopefully this will be amended as it seems a fairly farcical situation. However the loss will see them play the league winner in week 2.
One slightly minor issue but another that would appear not to have been thought through is the positioning of the NPL logo, which will now appear on the left hand sleeve of every team’s strip. Usually if the captain of the team is right handed, he invariably wears his armband on his left arm, as that is the easiest one to fasten it, the opposite applies to left handed players. Therefore the right handed players are going to have to learn to adjust as the NPL logo must not be covered up. A small victory for the left-handed players!