As you may have already read in John’s post earlier today, New Zealand Football have gone out to clubs with a consultation briefing document and a survey that explores options for the next stages of the development of our national competitions.
While there are a series of possible directions that the Stirling Sports Premiership may move in that range from Rolls Royce to Lada, the National Women’s League appears to be in the process of being pushed one way and one way only for the time being. The eventual aim is a club based national league for women, but the fear is that moving towards that goal too quickly would see ‘super teams’ form around the strongest clubs that would dominate the winter leagues to the detriment of the development of others.
The solution to this is a ‘mixed model’. The top four clubs in the NRFL are set to be joined by the current federation teams from Central, Capital, Mainland and South for a single round robin run from September to November.
Clubs have been asked to provide one response each to this proposal by the end of next week but given there don’t appear to be any other choices on the table, apart from some (one assumes) possible tinkering around the edges, this appears to be a done deal.
I’m disappointed about a few things.
Firstly, it looks like there won’t be two rounds home and away in the near future. A lot of people have been calling for this recently and I strongly believe it’s the least that players and fans deserve.
Secondly, there is a major problem here with the treatment of my home province. As this proposal is written, if Claudelands or Hamilton Wanderers can’t finish in the top four of the NRFL there will be no WaiBOP representation in the national league. I don’t want to be a melodramatic ass but if that happens it will end my interest in the competition. If there is to be some tinkering they absolutely must add a rule that whichever WaiBOP team finishes highest on the NRFL ladder is guaranteed a place and I hope that is reflected in the feedback.
Thirdly, I think it’s a bit sad that the Sherman Review’s vision that all the Stirling Sports Premiership entities must also field Futsal, Youth and Women’s teams looks to be off the table at least as far as the women’s game is concerned. I liked the incentives created by all of the men’s national league teams, and all those aspiring to be men’s national league clubs, being forced to take the women’s game seriously. But let’s face it, I always knew that this was unlikely to ever happen given the high costs it would impose on a select few. Doing the right thing can be expensive and may be to the detriment of the boys and we can’t have that now can we!!!
When I first analysed the National Competitions Review I said that women’s football seemed to be something of an afterthought in it and it appears I was right. The integration of the women’s game with the men’s structure wasn’t thought through in any detail and the end result of that is true equality of the sexes is still as far away as ever.
Categories: NZ Women's National League
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.