THE Border’s bid to be part of the Victorian National Premier League is in limbo after Football Federation Victoria’s decision to run the competition next year.
The backflip comes just three weeks after the federation said plans, for what was to be the A-League’s second-tier competition, were off the table.
On Friday, cashed-up Melbourne clubs opposing the design of the competition dropped their Supreme Court action and Football Federation Australia immediately pushed for a rollout of the league next year.
But Paul Millynn, part of the consortium that made the bid to field a Border-based team in the league, said it was too late.
“We are waiting to talk to the people from the federation when they visit this week,” he said.
“We are encouraged by statements that new regional clubs would be part of the NPL.
“But realistically it is too late for us to be able to field senior sides along with all the age divisions as originally planned.
“We wouldn’t be competitive.
“Under the proposal we put to the federation earlier in the year all our coaches needed to be in place in October.”
The Border may join with Shepparton to field teams in various senior and age-based sides but more would be known this week when senior executives from Football Federation Victoria meet with the local consortium.
Millynn was hopeful there was some latitude in competition guidelines for next year.
“It might be that between Shepparton and the Border that we can field teams in the various age divisions,” he said.
“But at this stage we just don’t know.”
In August, Melbourne media reported no existing Victorian Premier League clubs remained in the race to join the nationally streamlined second tier next year and all but four State League 1 clubs had turned their back on the venture.
The Melbourne clubs were claiming a potential shortfall of $140,000 a year under the obligations and demands of the competition.
On Friday federation chief executive David Gallop said the change of heart was positive.
“The NPL is an integral part of our national elite player pathway and a hugely important reform of the semi-professional tier of Australian football,” he said.
“FFV and its clubs have worked through many issues and agreed on an NPL model that’s now a benchmark nationally in many areas.”
Federation chairman Nick Monteleone said the NPL roll-out would have a positive impact on players, coaches and club development in Victoria.
“Today we have the opportunity to implement policies that will help our elite players in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, and at the same time help build stronger clubs,” he said.
“The time taken to reach this point has been worthwhile in finding an agreement for all stakeholders.”