Eland pledges cautious action on FFA report

NORTHERN NSW Football has moved quickly to temper potential angst over an overhaul of its state league, saying it will not meet Football Federation Australia wishes to make the changes in time for next season.

FFA’s National Competitions Review was handed down yesterday.

Among the recommendations was the introduction of a player points system designed to ‘‘correct unsustainable player payments’’ and promote local youth development within each club.

It also called on state league clubs to at least field first grade, under 20s, 18s and 16 teams to build better elite pathways for players. The current NNSWF structure is firsts, under 23s, 19s and 17s. Seven of the nine state league clubs have an under-15 side.

Among recommendations to improve youth development practices, clubs will need an A-licenced first-team coach and technical director.

Clubs also face a sharp increase in administration work to improve governance and financial reporting.

NNSWF chief executive David Eland said state league and first-division clubs had been invited to a meeting on June 6 to discuss the implications of the review.

Eland said he met with state league standing committee chairman Con Megalos and first-division chairman Vic Eather last month to discuss the report.

He intends to provide all clubs with a chance to provide written submissions in response to review.

He said there would likely be a forum in August at which the FFA would respond to questions from the clubs.

FFA called on member federations to implement the changes for next season, but Eland said he had already informed the governing body that NNSWF would not be ready until 2014 at the earliest.

‘‘We’ve made a commitment to our clubs that any changes for the following season are to be confirmed in the current season,’’ Eland said.

‘‘And we’re not going to meet that commitment for 2013.

‘‘We’ve indicated to FFA that it may take up to four seasons to implement this.

‘‘We’re not overburdening volunteers trying to achieve everything in the first year.’’

However Eland was keen to pilot the points system at some clubs next year ‘‘to see how appropriate it is to their situation’’.

Eland and operations manager Alan Nisbet will travel to Brisbane on Sunday to attend Football Queensland’s meeting with its clubs ‘‘to see how it goes and get an idea of the questions that come from the floor’’.

He was confident state league clubs would respond ‘‘reasonably positively to the majority of recommendations’’.

He said the key point to the review was that FFA was keen to recognise clubs as being an integral part of the elite player pathway.

‘‘If clubs want to be part of that pathway, there’s no doubt they are going to have to increase their capacity in that area,’’ he said.

He believed the move from under 23s to 20s for reserve grade may concern clubs.

‘‘We have to look at player registrations to see how much that impacts on club,’’ he said.

He said another concern would be the major increase in the required accreditation for coaches.

‘‘Northern needs to think hard about that and make sure we can provide the opportunities for coaches to reach that level,’’ he said.

But he believed NNSWF state league clubs were well positioned overall to meet the new expectations because of the premier competition criteria put in place over the past five years.

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