A MOVE to stop promotion and relegation in soccer would put the game back 20 years in Australia.
This is the feeling among Victorian administrators of the round ball game after Australian Soccer Federation chief executive Ian Holmes announced this week there should be no relegation from the National League.
“Promotion and relegation throughout the world of soccer is the lifeblood of the game,” said Michael Weinstein, a founder member of the ASF. “Without promotion throughout the leagues there would be no incentive for clubs and it would decrease spectator appeal because there would be nothing to aim for.”
Jack Skoblar, former president of Melbourne Croatia Soccer Club (now the Melbourne Knights), agreed.
“We need promotion and relegation to survive and to encourage young players to do well and to give our clubs ambition to play in the top league in the country,” he said.
“If you stop promotion throughout the leagues teams have nothing to achieve and we would lose our supporters.”
The Victorian Soccer Federation will object to Mr Holmes’ move.
VSF chairman Joe Caruso said his body would oppose anyone killing any avenue for Victorian clubs to reach the highest level of competition.
Melbourne Knights’ president Angie Cimera also believed scrapping promotion and relegation would destroy soccer in Australia.
There is only one NSL game in Melbourne tonight between Brunswick Pumas and Morwell Falcons at Croatian Sports Centre, Nth Sunshine.
It will be a test for new Pumas’ coach Ken Murphy, who has had remarkable success since he took over, but Morwell’s astute coach Bobby McLachlan is knocking on the door of the top six and will make his players fight for every ball to win the points tonight.
Tonight’s National Soccer League games:
Brunswick Pumas v Morwell Falcons (Croatian Sports Centre, Sunshine 6pm); Sydney Olympic v Heidelberg United (Leichhardt Oval, Sydney 6.30pm); West Adelaide v Adelaide City (Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide 7.30pm); Sydney United v Newcastle (Sydney Croatian Sports Centre 6.30pm).