The Melbourne Knights Football Club Extraordinary General Meeting was held on Sunday 26th of May, where members were asked to decide on the future direction of the club. When asked the question regarding whether the Melbourne Knights should submit an ‘Expression of Interest’ for the National Premier League Victoria, due at the end of this month, members voted overwhelmingly against the question posed.
86% of Melbourne Knights Football Club financial members voted against submitting an ‘Expression of Interest’ for Football Federation Victoria new ‘elite’ framework, citing a number of serious concerns for the future of the game in this state. In deciding to withdraw from the National Premier League process, most members believe that the proposed Premier League does not have the club’s or, in fact, football’s best interests at heart.
With a youthful Senior Men’s team which comfortably adheres to the ‘Player Points’ outlined in the NPLV documentation, a commitment to Women’s participation, junior development and coaching excellence, as well as access to a privately owned purposed built Class A facility, the Melbourne Knights already meet many of the criteria for the proposed Premier League, scheduled to begin in 2014.
Despite the club’s apparent suitability for the NPLV, members expressed a number of concerns regarding the FFV’s untested vision and framework.
Members were concerned that the club would be forced to charge excessive fees in order to meet exorbitant operational costs, thus making the game or pathway accessible to only those who could afford it. Members questioned the enormous financial strain imposed upon clubs with little to no support from any of the country’s football governing bodies.
Members had issue with the proposed level of control of National Premier League clubs, citing concerns for the lack of self determination available to clubs under the new guidelines. Particularly with regards to ownership of the club’s intellectual property.
When members were made aware of the fact that the NPLV is touted to provide a new ‘Australian National B League’, some expressed scepticism with regards to claims that a successful applicant club would have access to a pathway to be promoted to the highest level, many believing that the NPLV model cripples clubs to ensure that they would not be a viable candidate for A-League competition.
Finally, members were made aware of the lack of consultation which has occurred in the lead up to the development of the criteria.
The Melbourne Knights believe that the governing body’s failure to engage with many of its key stakeholders has resulted in clubs potentially submitting expressions of interest or, indeed, applications, in order to avoid being ‘left behind’, rather than in anticipation of a new and exciting direction for football in this state – many club administrators believing that they will be offered an ‘eleventh hour’ opportunity to negotiate changes to the fundamentally flawed framework.
In their 60 year history, the Melbourne Knights Football Club have unearthed and produced an enormous number of players who have gone on to compete at various levels of the sport and represent the state and country in countless representative teams. Regardless of where the Melbourne Knights are pushed to fit or fall within the framework of football in this country, the club will continue to nurture young talent and revere excellence for many years to come.
The Melbourne Knights will continue with its tried and proven methodology with regards to club excellence in all regards, servicing players of all ages and abilities, as well as our most important key stakeholders, our members and supporters.
The Melbourne Knights calls upon the Football Federation Victoria to immediately release the criteria for the so-called ‘community leagues’ so that the club, and other clubs like it, may prepare to the fullest for the 2014 season.