Confirmation merger of clubs being planned

Andrew Ridden (left) and George Thrussell compete for the ball during a match between Caversham...
Andrew Ridden (left) and George Thrussell compete for the ball during a match between Caversham and Dunedin Technical at Tahuna Park in 2018. Photo: Getty Images
A proposed relationship involving a handful of Dunedin football clubs has been confirmed as being in the planning stage.

Caversham and Dunedin Technical released near identical statements yesterday signed by the clubs’ presidents, Phil Collings and Tony Boomer respectively.

It confirmed a proposed relationship between the two clubs beginning this year which would also involve Melchester Rovers and Hereweka.

A name has not yet been confirmed, although South Coast United is being used in the meantime.

The proposal would create a hub, allowing the clubs to share resources and expertise, while certain activities would fall under a single banner.

That notably includes a premier men’s team, taking the place of Caversham and Tech in the Southern Premier League.

It is hoped the team will qualify to play in the South Island league, part of the New Zealand Football’s new competition structure.

It is proposed a reserve team will play in the top Dunedin grade.

Teams will also play in the Football South Development League 14th and 16th grade competitions.

The idea of the relationship is to ‘‘move with the times’’ as the sporting environment continues to change.

That involves players’ needs changing, as well as the financial environment becoming more challenging, especially following Covid-19.

The move would also allow the clubs to pool resources and better meet the requirements concerning the capability to receive a national licence.

The concept would provide a pathway for children right through to senior football and would cater in both the pinnacle and community spaces.

A focus would be placed on player development as well, as would coaching and referee development.

Deciding on a coach for the new pinnacle team this year is the next step.

Caversham was coached last year by Richard Murray, while Dunedin Tech was coached by Malcolm Fleming.

Both bring strong credentials, although applications will also be open to others.

Caversham and Tech have been arguably the strongest two clubs in the South over the past 20 years at the premier level.

They have won all but three of the men’s premier titles since 2000 and in 1999 Tech won the Chatham Cup.

However, last year both clubs finished in the bottom half of the Southern Premier League.

The move follows New Zealand Football’s competition restructure.

The national competition will now move to a club-based format, in which teams qualify through regional leagues.

For southern teams this year that means finishing in the top three of the local league to advance to a South Island league.

From there, the top two teams will play in the national league alongside qualifiers from other regions.

The South Island league will next year become a stand-
alone league with promotion/relegation from and to the Southern and Mainland leagues.

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