Border to field 8 teams in new Victorian premier league

THE Border has been granted a licence to be part of the Victorian Premier League from next year.

After months of speculation, Football Federation Victoria yesterday announced the 30 clubs granted a licence for the coming winter.

The Border, and Eastern Jets, will join the competition that acts as a second tier to the A-League, from 2015.

The Border franchise will field eight teams in age divisions and include an open age team.

The women’s competition is not expected to start before 2016.

It will effectively create an elite soccer club on the Border and open pathways into the A-League.

Marquee international players will be limited to two, with the remainder expected to come out of Albury Wodonga Football Association competitions.

A name is yet to be decided but the strip is expected to be a mix of the NSW sky blue and Victorian state blue to represent both sides of the Border.

Wodonga Diamonds Paul Millynn, who has driven the Border’s premier league bid since it was first mooted in June, said the hard work began now.

He received a call on Thursday confirming the Border had been given a licence.

“We need to move, I’d expect that within a month we will be looking to create a board, start advertising for coaches,” he said.

“The committee that has run it so far has done a great job but this is a business now and so we might see a change of structure and we will be approaching key people in the coming week.

“The coaches need to be in place early in the AWFA season so that they can look at the talent on offer and start working towards next year.

“The emphasis will always be on promoting home-grown talent.

“We see this as the pathway for junior rep players that will carry them to a higher level in the game, perhaps all the way into the A-League.”

In its initial year the Border will be expected to field teams in the under-12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 18 and 20 age groups as well as an open side.

The premier league model has already been adopted in NSW and removes the traditional representative team pathways.

Albury-Wodonga’s original bid was caught up in a legal battle with anti-NPL clubs based in Melbourne.

But the intervention of Football Federation Australia kick-started the process in late December, again calling for expressions of interest.

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