Gippsland will not pursue a National Premier League Victoria licence in the face of exorbitant costing and administration requirements.
Non-binding expressions of interest closed on 31 May, and, while the Gippsland Soccer League had initially made a verbal EOI, it elected not to apply for the revamped top flight competition.
The NPL is a Football Federation Australia initiative to be established in each state by 2014.
It will provide a national second-tier for Australian senior football and a consistent approach to the development of the nation’s talented junior footballers.
The NPLV will replace the existing Victorian Premier League as the state’s top league and include women’s and girl’s competitions.
After meeting with NPLV representatives and local clubs, GSL chair David Wilson said Gippsland did not have the necessary financial backing, estimated to be about $500,000, or infrastructure to make a bid.
“(We) loved the idea, the concept is terrific, but we haven’t got the critical mass,” he said.
“Looking at all the parameters with it… we’d basically have to set up a whole new board, like the GSL board, to run that independently, and the half a million dollars is the other little stumbling block.
“It is (disappointing), we’ve got visions of when Morwell Falcons were in the national league, but we don’t have the benefactor millionaire.” Football Federation Victoria received 44 EOIs by the deadline including nine from regional areas.
Wilson said a lack of information in the initial stages had made it difficult for Gippsland to commit.
“The NPL formula is very skint on details and everything seems to be rushed,” he said.
“We haven’t been in a position to get out and knock on enough big doors (to make it happen).”
The restructured league offers a clear pathway for junior players to reach state and national representative teams.
Wilson said the GSL would look at other representative avenues for local players in the absence of a Gippsland NPLV team.
“We have to start to formulate a pathway for our kids if we’re not going through the NPL,” he said.
“We’ll get the best available avenue for our kids to get exposed.”