Over the past four months, extensive consultation has taken place with the broad football community, including one-on-one meetings with clubs and the relevant Standing Committees, several group forums and with Football Australia with the Football NSW Board resolving to revert to a three-tiered structure in the Boys’ Youth League for the 2022 Winter NPL Season and beyond.
Opinions were diverse and feelings were strong, and Football NSW was faced with making a difficult decision that not all stakeholders will ultimately agree with.
While recognising that the timing of this announcement is not ideal, the consultation process was extensive, and the decision is in line with the original ‘evolution plan’ that was shared with clubs last December.
In deciding to implement and announce these changes now, Football NSW felt it important to act decisively and with immediate effect, so clubs and players are aware of the structure for next year.
Cognisant of the strong, and often differing views around what is the best structure and framework for Youth development, Football NSW felt it important to support the preference of the majority of NPL clubs, and their respective Standing Committees, for a tiered model.
The model adopted supports one of the key recommendations that emerged from Football Australia’s Performance Gap analysis, namely the desire to provide a minimum of thirty matches per season, and supports Principle V of Football Australia’s XI Principles, namely to increase the number of match minutes played by the state’s talented young players.
Finally, moving forward, Football NSW is also keen to support Football Australia in the development of its ‘club licencing’ scheme, which together with its proposed Domestic Transfer Framework will further incentivise clubs to invest in the important area of Youth development.
In 2022, Football NSW will place the three tiers of 16 Youth clubs on the following basis:
the 12 clubs competing in the current NPL NSW Youth – 1.1 Competition; and
The top 4 clubs from the current NPL NSW Youth – 1.2 Competition based on Youth Club Championship standings at the end of the 2021 season.
Clubs that finish in 5th to 12th place in the current NPL NSW Youth – 1.2 Competition based on Youth Club Championship standings at the end of the 2021 season; and
Clubs that finish in 1st to 8th place in the NPL NSW Youth – 2.1 Competition based on Youth Club Championship standings at the end of the 2021 season.
Clubs that finish in 9th to 12th place in the NPL NSW Youth – 2.1 Competition based on Youth Club Championship standings at the end of the 2021 season; and
All 12 clubs in the current NPL NSW Youth – 2.2 Competition