Qualification for entry to S. Island league still unknown

The format of this year's Southern Football League will remain the same, but the qualification method may change.

A meeting will be held on Monday night when the clubs will look to gain entry to the 2019 South Island-wide league.

Football South CEO Christ Wright said different ideas would be discussed as to how the three southern teams to play in the league would be found.

Last season one full round of the Football South Premier League was played and the top three teams gained qualification.

However, the additional cost of the South Island league meant not all teams could afford to be involved.

That was a main reason for meeting, on top of discussing the lateness teams were confirmed for the league - last year just a week before.

Football South had sought feedback from the clubs concerning last year's league, which had acted as pilot year.

"Certainly the intensity of the [southern] premier league in the qualification for the South Island league was really good, a lot of people liked that," Wright said of the feedback.

"Playing against the Mainland football teams was a big step up for the players and the teams, so that was a positive.

"The main element to improve was the lateness of knowing you were in the South Island league.

"Ideally, the clubs would know before the season starts.

"And I guess some of the logistics - we had a week to book [all the travel].

"Tidying up some of the flight times to allow more time to travel before and after games will be beneficial."

Travel had been one of league's biggest challenges last year.

While flights were made available for the longer trips, Wright felt it was not unreasonable to take a road vehicle between Dunedin and Christchurch.

He admitted that added a challenge, although said the purpose of the South Island league was to allow players to take their football a step further.

All around the world that involved travelling, sometimes on buses for many hours.

Format-wise the league would remain the same as in 2018.

Five Mainland teams and three Southern teams would play each other once in a round-robin.

While a double-round idea had been floated, financial cost made that difficult.

Southern United's rescheduled home game against Auckland City will be played next Wednesday.

The venue is yet to be confirmed.

The game replaces the abandoned match on October 28.

On that occasion the players were forced off the Caledonian Ground due to a waterlogged pitch shortly after halftime.

 

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