Football Federation Victoria has today released updates on the NPL and State League Rules and Regulations of the competitions, headlined by details of promotion from State Leagues to NPL2.
Since the inception of the National Premier Leagues competition in 2014, State League sides have not previously been able to reach the top division due to a lack of promotion and relegation but 2017 will see that gap bridged.
“The aim of this process was to ensure there was an open pathway in Victorian football for aspirational Clubs which provides the opportunity for Clubs that have demonstrated they have the personnel and processes in place to compete at that level, to move up to NPL,” the introduction of the NPL/MSL Promotion and Relegation Policy reads.
“It is also critical that the NPL program and standards are not compromised simply to satisfy the need for promotion and relegation.”
Clubs which finish 10th in both NPL2 East and NPL2 West at the end of the regular season while teams that finish first in the State League 1 will be promoted to NPL2 provided they also pass a pre-qualification process.
The pre-qualification process for State League 1 clubs aiming for promotion starts with an Expression of Interest to be lodged by June 1. The club must then complete a checklist of criteria in certain areas including; coaching, junior teams, facilities, and governance and finance.
Any club’s eligibility set out by the pre-qualification checklist will be confirmed before the end of the regular season. Should the club which finishes first in the State League Competition not be eligible for the NPL2 competition, promotion will instead be offered to the team which finishes second.
Clubs relegated from NPL2 to State League 1 have their NPL licesne terminated and will also see their junior teams excluded from NPL competitions. However, regional teams (specifically Murray United, Goulburn Valley Suns, Bendigo City and Ballarat City) will still be allowed to field junior sides in NPL competitions.
While regional teams may still have junior sides competing in NPL competitions, other clubs will have the opportunity to field their junior sides in equivalent ‘A’ division groups in community competitions.
Concerns have been raised by others however, with Nunawading spokesperson Nick Dimitrakis telling MFootball earlier this week that the system could hurt youth development.
“They’ve brought in promotion/relegation. We all have 50% minimum of kids that have come from through our program in our senior lineup and the ones that used to come from other clubs, they’re probably going to miss out,” Dimitrakis said.
The update to the rules and regulations have also seen a smattering of other changes.
Now any player who receives up to 10 yellow cards will still be eligible for the Best & Fairest award at the end of the season, having been increased from up to four yellow cards.
A new amendment regarding player eligibility will also see a team subject to penalty under the Grievance, Discipline and Tribunal By Law (GDT) should it field an inelligble player.
The full list of Rules and Regulations in Victorian Football competitions can be found here.