It's time for a final look at the NPLV issue for now as, like the fall of the empire and the death of Little Mu, time to move on to something more positive is imminent.
So what other problems do clubs have with the FFV's proposals for the NPLV? Some of the terms of the licence agreement have them feeling as if they are surrendering control of their clubs to the FFV. Having to submit three alternative names for a club with their submission has aroused concerns.
Each club will be allowed to field just the one team in each of the proposed age groups for boys and girls, and they will only begin at Under 12 level. This means clubs will have to turn away players and will not have a presence at the entry point of the game - Small Sided Football.
With membership fees capped at $1700 per player, clubs are wondering if the books will balance. Each club will have to employ a Technical Director, and it may not be too long before a General Manager is also required. Coaches and Physios must also be added to the budget. Will parents of "elite" players be willing to volunteer assistance around the club, or will the canteen and bar staff for the long match days require remuneration? I see a lot of expense without any evidence revenue will be sufficient.
Getting sponsorship is never easy, and some pitfalls loom upon the horizon. Reduced player numbers will be a concern to some seeking exposure, as would a further decline in spectator attendance across the board. For the sponsors who only do it out of duty to the club because they are on the committee, will they reconsider their support if they feel they have lost control of their club to the FFV?
Some facilities will need upgrading, and with clubs facing having fewer players they may lose their bargaining power with local councils. There are also issues with some clubs having access to their grounds for the extended length of the season proposed for the NPLV.
The process of establishing the NPLV has been shrouded in controversy. From rumours of clubs having made secret "backroom" deals with the FFV to others that the FFV was seeking to gain control of certain facilities. Many believe the FFV's consultation with it's stakeholders has been nothing but a sham, with most of the club's concerns dismissed out of hand. Clubs that have aired their grievances fear being victimised as a result.
It's been an ugly process which hopefully does not bode ominously for the future of the game.