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A late off-field departure ended up sealing Otago University’s fate for next season.
The club had qualified for next year’s Southern Football League, but was unable to meet New Zealand Football licensing requirements.
A lack of a B licence coach to be the club’s director of football proved a hurdle University could not overcome.
It will now play in the Football South Premier League, while Mosgiel will take its place in the South Island-wide league, which acts as qualification for the new national league.
University club president Fraser Towers admitted it was a tough decision to take.
It was especially hard on the players, he said, as they had done all the work this year and would not get the reward due to circumstances out of their control.
"We needed one person to have a B licence for the director of football and sadly for us he moved on to a different club," Towers said.
"That was a huge turning point for us. Once that happened, it was near-impossible for us to get the B licence.
"Coaching is huge. The number of people that need C licences and B licences is hard to come by in Dunedin."
It is understood the departing coach is women’s coach Stuart Moffat, who has headed to Green Island.
Towers did not hold any resentment towards the situation, though it was a move that came late in the piece.
Towers had not been surprised University could not get an exemption, as New Zealand Football had been clear there would not be any given.
However, he said it was difficult to be held to the same standards as the Auckland clubs.
"I don’t know if we should have got an exemption or not.
"They base it on what it’s like up in Auckland — the amount of people, the amount of coaches with certain licences up there.
"For them to duplicate that and just have us abide by the same standards is, I wouldn’t say unfair, but it’s extremely hard for us to live up to their expectations.
"If they’re just going to put a blanket rule on all the competitions, it is what it is.
"People have to fight over coaches down here and where they get the best deal, they’re going to go there."
Towers said it was likely the club would have to look externally for someone to come on as director of football, if it wanted a licence next year.
A B licence took several years of work and no-one in the club would reach that in time.
He said present men’s premier coach Darren Hart, who guided the team to last season’s Chatham Cup quarterfinals, "all but had his C licence".
The other hurdle the club had to overcome was the lack of junior teams.
It has satisfied that requirement by forming a relationship with Grants Braes.
New Zealand Football told the Otago Daily Times it was in regular contact with the club to help it meet licensing requirements for next season.
It approved 36 men’s and nine women’s licences for next season.