Parents angryover junior soccer split

Aiden BoyhamSound Telegraph

Representatives from Football West, soccer’s peak governing body in WA, met with officials, coaches and parents from Rockingham City Football Club at Lark Hill last Wednesday night for a special forum over the decision to split the junior National Premier League.

Football West chief executive James Curtis, head of member services Alex Novatsis and general manager, strategy and partnerships Jonathan Cook were on hand to field questions from disgruntled club members and officials over the governing body’s decision to opt for two junior NPL groups.

The groups, which have been split into orange and green, will see 12 teams from the inaugural NPL competition in 2014 grouped together, while nine non-foundation clubs (including Rockingham) will compete against each other in the other group.

Complaints centred on the fact some teams in the green group would be required to travel on average almost 2000km extra during the season; the feeling they had been cast to an “inferior league” and also that Football West had bowed to pressure from “elitist” clubs on the NPL Standing Committee to create a city-centric “top tier”.

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Football West admitted the structure wasn’t ideal but argued the 12 and nine model was a better compromise than a 14 and seven model that had been put forward by most of the standing committee.

Mr Curtis said there were several strong sides in the green group which had previously defeated big-name sides in the orange group, and top-four teams from both groups would play off in a combined finals series at the end of the season.

Parents also complained their children would be playing fewer games for the same fees under the model, to which Football West stated it imposed a certain price for fees, with the rest determined by clubs themselves.

Mr Curtis said independent consultants were set to conduct an NPL review process later this year.

The findings of the review would then be used to determine the course of action Football West took on league structures in 2018.

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