Goulburn North East Football Association president Frank Trimboli has conceded the Regional Premier League is all but dead after one season.By Damen Francis
Goulburn North East Football Association president Frank Trimboli has conceded the Regional Premier League is all but dead after one season.
As expected, Yoogali Soccer Club was blocked from entering the RPL by Griffith District Football Association on Monday night.
The decision stems from the club being unable to field the required number of teams in its local competition.
Yoogali SC’s exit leaves the competition with just six teams, all of which are aligned with GNEFA.
Trimboli stopped short of confirming there was no future for the RPL, but admitted there was little hope of it recovering.
‘‘I guess our focus now if we want to grow the competition is to focus on the other neighbouring associations in Albury Wodonga and Bendigo,’’ Trimboli said.
‘‘Yoogali didn’t want to pull out of the competition, they wanted to stay there, but the Griffith district association was making it difficult for them.
‘‘I guess we’ll get the same response from Albury Wodonga and Bendigo.
‘‘On one hand I’ve conceded, I was probably too ambitious for the region and I guess I was wrong.
‘‘I didn’t want it to be my own project (but) I drove it on my own and I fell, so now I’ve got a new board in and I’ll just talk to them and see what they want to do.’’
What began as a grand plan to lift the profile and quality of the sport in regional Victoria in reality struggled to get off the ground.
The gulf in class between the big spending teams at the top and those competing within their means was apparent from the opening round.
An administrative blunder led to a division between clubs from Victoria and those in NSW, which ultimately resulted in three teams quitting the competition.
However, Trimboli said he did not believe money and travel were the main issues, instead suggesting a lack of support from club administrators was more significant.
As for the immediate future of the competition, Trimboli said it would continue with six teams, but possibly revert back to GNEFA title.
‘‘That’s something we have to discuss as a board,’’ he said.
‘‘We branded it with a different name to create a new product, but I guess the demand is not really out there for that level of competition.
‘‘I still believe there is (a market for it), but it needs to be driven by a different body, perhaps a governing body, not volunteers.
‘‘We worked hard, we tried to take the sport forward, tried to create something, it didn’t work, but if we didn’t try it we wouldn’t have known.
‘‘Maybe we should just leave the game as a community and social competition as it is.’’
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