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Soccer’s future hanging

Wednesday, 18th March, 2015

The future of junior and senior soccer will be discussed at a public forum tomorrow night, with local and SA-based bodies at odds over the direction of Broken Hill’s competition. The future of junior and senior soccer will be discussed at a public forum tomorrow night, with local and SA-based bodies at odds over the direction of Broken Hill’s competition.

By Darrin Manuel

The direction of the city’s soccer competition appears to be at a crossroads after the local Association announced its intent to withdraw from the Football Federation of South Australia.

Broken Hill Soccer Association president Tom Kennedy said a vote was taken by the Management Committee at a recent meeting, with the decision to withdraw passing 6-1.

However, there is some contention between the FFSA and the BHSA as to whether the Management Committee has the authority to de-affiliate Broken Hill under the local constitution.

Mr Kennedy said the Management Committee is in charge of setting fees for the local competition, and BHSA’s $25,000 annual contribution to FFSA is included in player fees, thereby granting the Committee control of the decision.

However it is believed that the FFSA feels differently, and insists the BHSA must consult more local stakeholders and members before withdrawing.

To this end the FFSA (and SA Junior Soccer Association) are holding a public forum at the Democratic Club at 7.30pm tomorrow night, and has encouraged all players and those involved with local soccer to attend.

FFSA CEO Michael Carter said withdrawing from the State body could stifle junior development and limit kids’ chances to play in combined carnivals.

“We received a letter on March 10 advising us that they were withdrawing and we were a bit concerned,” said Mr Carter.

“It’s important that all players and participants understand what the de-affiliation will mean.

“They won’t have access to pathways programs and state events, and it’s very important that country competitions have access to that.

“And it’s not about the funds at all, it’s about keeping the sport together, we’re in such a big growth phase.

“Let’s have an informed decision and ensure it’s in line with the local constitution.”

However, Mr Kennedy said Broken Hill wasn’t alone in their feelings of dissatisfaction with the FFSA, and added that he knew of “two or three” other leagues who were also considering running independently.

He said he found it bizarre that other major sporting bodies poured money into regional competitions, yet Broken Hill was paying $25,000 just to be a part of the State body.

“Last year we had two two-hour coaching clinics, and that was virtually all the input we had for our $25,000,” he said.

“We’re paying a lot of money for no real access to the expertise of the FFSA ... and we’re not the only ones disappointed with their lack of commitment to country areas.

“They should be investing in us; we shouldn’t be investing in them.”

Mr Kennedy said the BHSA would instead spend the $25,000 directly on the city’s juniors, and are already formulating plans for a combined carnival against Elizabeth and coaching clinics with professionals from Melbourne.

Should the venture prove unsuccessful, Mr Kennedy said the BHSA remained open to rejoining the FFSA in the future, or even exploring an affiliation with Football NSW.

“At the end of the day it’s about using that $25,000 locally ... we need to give this a trial.”

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