Otago Daily Times

Foot­ball South CEO look­ing for­ward to more long­term cer­tainty

FOOT­BALL

- JEFF CHESHIRE FA CHAIR­MAN QUITS Sports · Soccer · Soccer Business · New Zealand Football · New Zealand · South Island · Southern United FC · C.W. Anderson

A PRO­POSED re­vamp of New Zealand Foot­ball’s struc­ture would bring pros and cons, Foot­ball South CEO Chris Wright said.

Foot­ball South is set to meet its clubs tonight in or­der to pro­vide them with in­for­ma­tion on how the pro­posal would im­pact those in the South.

From there those clubs will give their feed­back to the na­tional body.

The new pro­posal would dis­con­tinue ex­ist­ing na­tional league, mov­ing to a club­based set up.

Teams would play in win­ter leagues in south­ern, cen­tral and north­ern re­gions from March to Septem­ber. Qual­i­fiers from each would ad­vance to a na­tional league to be played

the from Septem­ber to De­cem­ber.

Wright said a move to align the game into a sin­gle sea­son and cre­ate a more sus­tain­able set­up would be pos­i­tive.

How­ever, the move to a club­based model was a change and they would have to look at in­vest­ing in ca­pa­bil­ity in or­der to be­come li­censed.

Costs would be equalised through­out the coun­try, mean­ing play­ing in the South Is­land league would be more af­ford­able than pre­vi­ously.

That was a ma­jor pos­i­tive, as Wright said es­tab­lish­ing a South Is­land league had been the most com­mon re­quest he re­ceived since begin­ning in his role five years ago.

Wright added the cost would not be too much more than that which clubs were pay­ing in the South­ern Pre­mier League, given the travel in­volved there.

The big is­sues would be de­cid­ing what the league would look like, as well as which teams played in the league — and do­ing so quickly, if it was to go ahead next year.

‘‘I guess it’s go­ing to cre­ate a bit of noise in a way,’’ Wright said.

‘‘Clubs are go­ing to have to think very care­fully about what they want to be.

‘‘There’s no rea­son why clubs can’t be a re­ally good com­mu­nity club and a re­ally good club in the pin­na­cle space.

‘‘But those foun­da­tions of clubs and how they serve their com­mu­ni­ties are the most im­por­tant thing.’’

Wright also said a big chal­lenge would be the step up in be­ing ex­posed to a higher qual­ity of foot­ball more reg­u­larly.

That would take time, although it was a case of the clubs want­ing to as­pire to get there.

It opened the dan­ger of top play­ers leav­ing the re­gion if no south­ern teams made the na­tional league, although it would also ex­pose more play­ers to a level above the lo­cal pre­mier league.

Wright said it would be good to have a longer­term model set down, what­ever is de­cided.

Foot­ball’s na­tional league setup had changed sev­eral times over the years and he said it had been hard to plan fur­ther ahead than the cur­rent sea­son with South­ern United.

Hav­ing a plan set for the next five to 10 years so long­term ob­jec­tives could be made would al­le­vi­ate that.

 ??  ?? Chris Wright
Chris Wright

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