Local football legend Manny Gotis has urged Gippsland football community to help restore the sport to its former glory in the area by taking up an offer to play in the newly formed Victorian arm of the National Premier League.
Local football legend Manny Gotis has urged Gippsland's football community to help restore the sport to its former glory in the area by taking up an offer to play in the newly formed Victorian arm of the National Premier League.
Gippsland football have so far not made the submission for a side a top priority and Gotis is worried that the area-s proud tradition of producing football stars such as himself, Archie Thompson and Scott McDonald, will all but die out.
“It is a no brainer that Gippsland should have a team in the NPL,” said Gotis.
“It both surprises and disappoints me that they haven-t explored the opportunity further as it will no doubt deprive local kids of playing in an elite competition in the area.
“It appears that the Gippsland FA has not really sold the idea of an NPL club in the area to the community so I-m not sure if it has had a chance to get off the ground.”
With sizeable start-up costs to get a NPL licence and roster together Gotis believes that money is the overriding factor in Gippsland not applying for a side in the NPL.
“It appears that the area believes that we cannot afford to pay the licence fee and have thus not sold it to the community.
“I think they have not worked hard enough to explore the opportunity and get key stakeholders involved to define a clear vision for the future of Gippsland football.”
Still a keen follower of football in the region, the former Socceroo believes that the lack of a national competition has seen a drop off in quality of football in the area.
“Since the demise of the NSL the area has definitely been effected with no platform for progression hurting the state league clubs and essentially reducing the quality of play. This no doubt leads to there being a massive gap between the state league and the A-League.
“While participation remains high the standard has dropped in an area that has produced some great footballers and that is distressing.”
It is believed that the local community with its rich football history would get right behind an NPL team in the area if they were part of the league.
“There is no doubt that the Gippsland community would get behind a team in the area.
"It would give a clear career path for local juniors to progress and potentially go on to play in the A-League and beyond.”
Gotis has also urged the FFA to help regional teams become involved in the NPL, At present the FFV NPL License Fee, which is applicable to all clubs is set at $50,000. This covers team entry and registration of players in the mandatory teams a club is required to enter.
"The Licence Fee of $50,000 per annum ensures that there will be no other team entry or player registration fees to pay for the Club. This licence fee replaces the previously existing participation and registration fees (which were roughly the same)." -FFV NPL Application
Gotis has proposed a public forum take place in order to debate the issues at stake.
“I think it would be best if we had a forum to get all of this sorted and let the community know how we can move forward.
“Gippsland is a key market area for football in Australia. We need to take up the offer of playing in the NPL but it needs to be sustainable.”
The National Premier League has been formed to help create consistency across the member federation top leagues across Australia and to raise the level of performances of players as well as club management.
The competition will be the second tier of football in Australia, underpinning the Hyundai A-League.