Brisbane Strikers Chairman Bruce Atterton-Evans remains upbeat about proposals for an Australian Premier League after further details about the new competition intended to underpin the Hyundai A-League were outlined to invited interested parties at a meeting hosted by Football Queensland in Brisbane today.
Mr Atterton-Evans said that the meeting had outlined the results and subsequent proposals arising out of Football Federation Australia’s National Competition Review, which had as its main objective making Australia a world-class football nation, and that he had found the proposals for the new league, slated to kick off in each state in a conference-style format by winter of 2013, encouraging. However, he cautioned that the concept could be undermined by clubs pursuing a different objective.
“I’ll have to take it back to the Brisbane Strikers Board, because we’ve only spoken about it briefly, but from my point of view especially I think it is a fantastic way forward. I’m just hoping that previous jealousies don’t rear their head and clubs look at the bigger picture, which is development of Australian football”, Mr Atterton-Evans said.
Mr Atterton-Evans said that the competition was intended to include twelve clubs in Queensland and that plans were afoot to have the champion club from each State play off against each other at the end of the various state chapters of the competition. It was felt that this concept would enable the competition to attract interest from television and potential sponsors.
There was discussion around the competition’s proposed Player Points System ,under which each participating club would have a squad of twenty players, with a maximum number of 200 points for the whole squad (that is, an average of ten points per player), with the least number of points being the better. Incentives would be built into this system in the form of points deducted for players brought through the club’s junior development pathway, while points would be added for ‘visa’ players or players over 25.
The idea behind this concept, when combined with the requirement for participant clubs to hire better-qualified coaches, is to ensure that the technical quality of junior and youth players feeding into the APL squad is high by ‘incentivising’ clubs to develop players who will be better able to make the transition to senior football in the APL, and from there to the A-League, than is currently the case.
Mr Atterton-Evans said that his main concern would be that some current QSL clubs would need more time to implement the player points system in such a way that would enable them to participate in the APL and be competitive in the short term. He said he intends to raise that matter with Football Queensland during their meeting and hoped there would be potential to either adjust or phase in those requirements.
“From what they are trying to achieve, as in a development program, I think the points system that they have come up with, and the squad that you will be able to assemble because of it, will be good in a few years’ time”, Mr Atterton-Evans said. “It would be very difficult by next year, but basically it is going to mean that any on-field success is going to be driven by your development program”.
Mr Atterton-Evans said that the criteria for entry into the league would also be heavily based on coach accreditation, with the senior team’s coach and assistant coach, and coaches for players at Under 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20 levels needing to have a better level of coaching qualification than can be found at most clubs at present.
Mr Atterton-Evans said that the next step in the process of putting the APL together in Queensland would be for interested clubs to submit a letter of interest by 8 June. From 12 June to 3 August Football Queensland would visit individually each of the clubs who submitted a letter, whereupon those clubs would have until 24 August to submit an application. Those applications would be assessed by the end of August, after which Football Queensland would make recommendations to the FFA. Successful clubs will be announced by 26 September.
“My recommendation to the Board would be that we submit a letter of interest and then we’ll go through the interview process and we’ll go through the criteria, but from my personal point of view I see it as a fantastic way forward for football in Queensland I would certainly be doing all I can to ensure that our application is successful”, Mr Atterton-Evans said.