New goal for football players

ASPIRING players have got a new goal to aim for after Football Federation Australia announced details about the new Australian Premier League which kicks off next year.

Preliminary details of the rebranded league, which replaces the existing top tier competitions in each state, were outlined in Brisbane during the first of several presentations to be hosted by the FFA in conjunction with its member federations.

Queensland's regional associations and representatives from clubs competing in Football Brisbane and the Queensland State League competitions attended the briefing.

Under the plan, Queensland's APL division will be a statewide competition featuring 12 clubs, with a minimum of four based in Brisbane. The Queensland division will not include promotion and relegation, instead each of the clubs meeting the entry criteria will have a secure licence for the first five years of the competition.

While there will be no licence fee to join, participating clubs will be required to submit financial statements to both associations for an annual audit.

A consultation process will take place to determine the best way of assisting regional clubs with the travel costs associated with competing in a larger statewide league.

Transition to the new format will be overseen by Ben Mannion, recently installed as chief operations officer for football Queensland. His appointment follows repeated criticism from Brisbane-based clubs about the implementation of the Queensland State League in 2008, which saw several capital city outfits either return to the Brisbane Premier League or fold entirely.

Mannion said he anticipated eight of the new competition's clubs will be located south of Bundaberg, highlighting Toowoomba and Ipswich as potential areas that could sustain an APL side in addition to "four or five clubs from Brisbane, plus the Gold and Sunshine Coasts".

He also mentioned regions represented in the QSL such as Townsville, Mareeba, Rockhampton and Mackay.


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