I have been keeping an eye on some discussion on Twitter recently and I see that there is interest in a proper National Premier League in summer.
This is an interesting idea, particularly given that the NPL is just starting to get on its legs. I think such an idea has merit, but is not something that can be jumped into straight away. Such an idea needs to be undertaken with care.
What I’m writing here is one idea for a model for a National Premier League in summer. I’m sure that there are plenty of fans out there with their own ideas, some will tell me that I’m crazy or I don’t understand the situation – I want to reiterate that this is just ONE idea for such a model. If you want to have your say, leave your comments below.
It is assumed that all member federations that take part are operating under the same Player Points System (PPS) – it is my understanding that each league has a different system at the moment so it would not be fair for each one to operate differently from each other.
In addition, it is also assumed that transport and accommodation would be covered by the league sponsor(s). These clubs are mostly semi-professional and cannot afford to fly across the country on a regular basis.
It is also assumed that each member federation signs off on the rules at the start of the first season. The member federations are not required to take part, but should they choose to take part, they are not able to select their own participants – the participants are determined by the rules of the National Premier League.
Each participating member federation would be entitled to two (2) teams in the inaugural Summer National Premier League (SNPL). The team that finishes top of the table at the end of the season gets the first spot in the SNPL and the team that wins the Grand Final gets the other SNPL spot. If those teams are the same, the team that finishes second takes the other spot.
If we assume that all 8 federations partake in the SNPL, the participants would look like this:
- Australian Capital Territory = Canberra FC and Belconnen United
- New South Wales = Sydney United and Bonnyrigg White Eagles
- Northern New South Wales = Broadmeadow Magic FC and one other team (I spent a while trying to find out which team came second
- Queensland = Olympic and Brisbane City
- South Australia = North Eastern Metrostars and Campbelltown City
- Tasmania = South Hobart and Devonport City
- Victoria = Northcote City and Melbourne Knights
- Western Australia = Stirling Lions and Bayswater City
So it would be my recommendation that each team would play each other on a double round robin basis, once at home and once away. This would give each team 30 fixtures throughout the league.
The season would have to start AFTER the NPL Championships, as it is expected that several teams would be playing in the NPL Championships and it is unreasonable to reschedule games around that. This also means that there is a serious risk of forcing some NPL seasons to play games midweek to ensure they play all their games as well.
PROMOTION AND RELEGATION
In terms of changing the teams each year, I would look at any new teams in the NPL Championships. The two teams in the bottom 2 of the SNPL would have to play off against the two highest ranked teams in the NPL Championships that are not already taking part in the SNPL in a two-legged play-off.
This means that some federations could find themselves without representation within a couple of years. While this is unfortunate, it is important that each federation is able to represent their state and territory with strong teams – if they do not have strong teams, they do not deserve to play in the SNPL.
To be fair, I’ve knocked this together pretty quickly – I know it needs a lot of work and will hopefully cause plenty of discussion. Leave your comments below and share it among your friends and footballers across all the leagues.