Relegation may be canned depending on review

Chris Wright
Chris Wright
Teams are still fighting to secure spots in next year's Southern Premier League.

There remains a chance the sides finishing bottom in this year's local league could get a life though.

Relegation had initially been proposed for the lowest sides this year in Football South's top league beneath the South Island league.

However, Football South chief executive Chris Wright is unsure whether that will go ahead.

The main reason is the pending outcome of the national competition review being conducted by New Zealand Football.

That is expected to be complete by the end of this year and could include significant changes to how the national league is run.

''The result of that will effect our premier league,'' Wright said.

''So we don't know exactly if the promotion-relegation is going to go ahead at the moment.

''We don't want to put in place a structure that we're going to have to change a year later.

''So what we've told our clubs is that it could still happen, but we can't confirm with them until the national league review is done - they just need to be patient.

''They're still fighting for places and potential relegation, but we can't confirm the exact structure until the national league review is out.''

Ideas early this year had included reducing the premier league to eight teams and having a championship competition beneath it.

The top three teams from the premiership would still progress to the South Island league.

Qualification for that league has taken place over one round of premiership matches over the past two years.

Moving that to two full rounds is going to be more viable thanks to the new artificial turf.

That would require midweek games and getting teams to commit to travelling to regional venues on those days, however.

Wright had been pleased with how the South Island league is tracking. He said ideally that would be two full rounds as well, although that was not financially viable at present.

That could change after the national review.

The teams had enjoyed the step up in level and felt they were benefiting from it.

One of the big work-ons was reducing the gap between the premier league's end and the South Island league's start.

This year that had been a five week gap, partially due to Grant's Braes' late withdrawal from the league shortening its length.

That was something the federation would work on resolving for next year.

He said it was good to see the southern teams claim two wins last weekend.

The objective of the league was to raise the overall level of play in the federation over time.

That was not going to happen straight away and he felt another step had been taken in the right direction.

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