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Melbourne Knights' statement on NPL clubs' meeting

8:48 PM EST 3/6/17
Melbourne Knights NPL Victoria 07032017
The full statement from a spokesperson for the NPL Victoria club on Monday night's meeting that could change Australian football

Clubs from Australia's second-tier National Premier Leagues (NPL) established a committee on Monday to work towards forming a representative body.

NPL clubs want more of a say in how football is run in Australia, with the new body set to target voting rights in Football Federation Australia's Congress.

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A spokesperson for Melbourne Knights, who play in NPL Victoria, provided an exclusive statement to Goal detailing what the meeting was about and explaining their specific reasons for being involved.

Goal: What is the point of the meeting and was it a success? 

Melbourne Knights FC (MKFC): The point of the meeting was to develop a representative body for NPL Clubs to vote on FFA board matters. Melbourne Knights FC - and other clubs - pay annual fees of approximately $40,000 in federation registration costs.

We - and any other stakeholder that contributes significantly to FFA funds - think it's reasonable that we have some sort of say as to how these funds are spent.

The meeting was the first step in establishing this body, and talks were positive but it is too early to say if it will be successful or not. 

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One positive outcome from the meeting was establishing a committee which will work towards setting up this body.

The committee will be issuing a press statement on this development soon.

Goal: What is the next step?

MKFC: We will have another meeting on March 20th, where we hope to hear further input from different clubs unable to attend last night's meeting.

Goal: How many clubs were in attendance?

MKFC: At a guess, roughly 18.

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Not every NPL club was able to attend. Organisers of the meeting also didn't have access to some clubs' contact details, however as a result of the meeting, further contact details were sourced.

Goal: How long have these discussions been going on and who have been the instigators? 

MKFC: There had been some previous meetings among a handful of clubs, however they pre-date the administration of the current MKFC committee and it would be unfair for us to comment. 

Goal: How do those involved believe they can achieve their goals? 

MKFC: As this was an initial meeting, timelines were not discussed.

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Goal: How have we reached this point? What's inspired these discussions? 

MKFC: The committee established from last night's meeting will comment in more detail, but we can speak from our own club's point-of-view. 

We are mainly concerned with the costs of running an NPL club and lack of financial incentive to develop youth. Youth development is something we're proud of at MKFC.

And it should not be forgotten that we built our stadium off the back of transfer fees associated with Mark Viduka. 

We have grave concerns about the way we currently lose youth players to National Youth League teams (and their corresponding NPL squads) with little to no financial compensation.

In one season, we lost seven of our players to Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City youth teams. 

Further, of those seven, none made senior A-League team appearances, which poses questions for the viability of the current model where kids are plucked from our senior squads, play only against other kids - missing out on exposure to senior set-ups - and are then, in most cases, regurgitated back out into the NPL set-up.

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We are of the strong opinion that this system will not work long term in anyone's interest. 

Goal: Is this group about promotion-relegation and do they have a model? 

MKFC: Yes promotion and relegation was discussed as something we all want to work towards.

As the meeting was initial, no model was discussed.