There has been a great deal made about the proposed player points system in football in Western Australia, and around the country. A system that will see players supposedly in their prime at 25 or 26 years of age prejudiced against and squeezed out of the game.
The move has already been branded illegal by a lawyer specialising in employment law. The PFA has also come out on the side of the players to try and stop such a move, but it would appear the FFA and its satellite state bodies are ploughing ahead regardless. Many believe the reason being that they know the clubs will face legal action, and not those governing the game and implementing the rule.
At last week’s meeting of clubs fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in the inaugural NPL season in Western Australia to try and appease the clubs, Football West advised clubs that they were prepared to increase the number of cumulative points a team can have on the park. They even said that they were prepared to increase the number of visa players – non-permanent residents – to four per team.
However clubs were told that they would have to revert to the national standard once they qualified for the NPL finals series. So the points value of their team would be lowered and they would only be allowed two visa players. Which seems a little ridiculous; You play all season under one set of rules, for the honour of playing in the finals, but then cannot play the same team because the over-riding rules do not allow you to.
This confirms a desperation on behalf of the FFA and the state bodies to do whatever it takes to have every state playing in a NPL branded competition. The clubs will be the one’s putting their future at risk if they accept this compromise, as they, as the employers will face the legal challenges.
Since when has picking a team been about how many points a player is worth? Yes, disability sports use this system, but it should and must always be about picking the best team. If you are young yet capable you will earn your spot as Pele and Norman Whiteside did at the World Cup finals; they are the youngest to players to play in a World cup finals, both being aged just 17. Equally if you are an older player you too will only be selected if you contribute to the team, Dino Zoff won the World Cup with Italy at 40 years of age. Many will say, but he was a goalkeeper, which is true, but if we look at the English Premier League Teddy Sherringham pulled on a West Ham shirt for the final time 95 days shy of his 41st birthday. Ryan Giggs is still playing for Manchester United at 39 years of age, Stuart Pearce was still playing in the top flight at 39, and Gordon Strachan was the first 40 year old player in the Premier League.
Age has no limits, and should certainly never determine whether a player plays a sport or not. The points system is foolish in the extreme and only those who have limited playing experience in sport would think to implement such a system.