Last Friday, Football Queensland announced that there junior NPL competition would be reformed from 2020 and beyond.
The reformed system would integrate grading to ensure teams would play against opposition of a similar caliber. This is clearly aimed at achieving a higher level of fairness and equality in the junior system.
Soccer is not the only sport in which some teams are unfairly pitted against sides much stronger than themselves. It happens frequently in cricket, Australian rules football and basketball.
It’s great to see Football QLD taking necessary action to make positive change and to retain juniors in the sport for longer.
The full press release can be found below:
Following the decoupling of the National Premier League (NPL) Queensland and the Football Queensland Premier League junior competitions and recently announced changes to the naming convention, Football Queensland (FQ) in conjunction with the Technical Working Group has developed a framework and model to appropriately determine the ranking of NPL junior clubs from 1-24.
A comprehensive technical audit has been completed by FQ across the 24 NPL and FQPL clubs. The Technical Working Group developed a number of models and ultimately proposed a hybrid grading model based on the FQ club technical audit score in a weighted formula alongside the total 2019 league points.
The ongoing refinement of the model will consider other agreed data sets that reflect the clubs’ focus on junior player development, and the audit scores will continue to change in the coming weeks as the working group completes its recommendations.
The recommended competition format has been designed based on the guiding principles of ‘like vs like’, ‘best vs best’ and ‘for the good of the game’.
It is intended for FQ to administer the league through a structured pool competition across three distinct phases throughout the season.
The Technical Working Group recommended that clubs ranked 1-6, in addition to the Brisbane Roar 2 Star Academy, should be ring-fenced to compete against each other in the first phase of the competition, in keeping with the proposed direction of the FFA Academy Star Rating system.
The remaining clubs will be allocated across three remaining pools according to their ranked position.
All clubs will participate in the proposed three phases of the league: pre-season, competition and tournament.
- The pre-season phase of 7 rounds will be used to further validate the hybrid grading model. At the conclusion of this phase two pools of 12 will be formed (NPL Academy and NPL Development) in preparation of the ‘competition’ phase of the season.
- In the 11 round ‘competition’ phase, the NPL Academy will consist of clubs ranked 1-12 plus the Brisbane Roar Academy, and NPL Development will consist of clubs ranked 13-24 plus the QAS Girls.
- The ‘tournament’ phase will see competitive matches played with clubs split into four pools based on the principles of ‘best v best’ and ‘like v like’. The pools will then play for the Queensland Cup, Gold, Silver and Bronze Plates respectively.
Further information on the hybrid grading model, league structure and NPL reforms will be announced in the coming weeks.
Details of the Technical Working Group’s deliberations can be found in the minutes of the meetings, which have been released weekly and are available online via https://footballqueensland.com.au/technical-working-group/