There is a new amended proposal doing the rounds to accommodate the Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS) in southern Tasmania’s top-flight football competition.
After some opposition was voiced to the proposal to have the TIS playing in the Premier League, it was suggested that the TIS could, perhaps, play in the Premier League Reserve competition.
Another proposal was that the TIS could play in a separate competition involving Premier League and Division One opponents and played in midweek.
This latest proposal, however, involves the formation of a ‘Super League’ next season, consisting of the eight Premier League clubs, the top three Division One clubs, and the TIS.
This means a 12-team competition and 22 matches in the south.
Division One would consist of the left-overs and there would be no promotion or relegation into or out of the top flight.
What, then, was the point of this past season’s on-field battles to avoid relegation or win promotion?
It was all for nought if this proposal is adopted.
I have asked these questions before, and I will ask them again.
What is the purpose of the top-flight competition?
Is it for the development of the TIS players, or is it the showcase for Tasmanian football?
I think it is the showcase for Tasmanian football.
There are already promising youngsters in the ranks of most of the top-flight teams.
They are benefiting from playing in the same team with more experienced players.
The TIS is comprised completely of young, developing players, and that is a different kettle of fish.
They will struggle in a senior competition.
It has been argued by proponents of the TIS playing in the top flight that Wayne Rooney was only 16 when he played for Everton in the English Premier League (EPL).
But, it is conveniently overlooked that Rooney was in a team comprised of older and more experienced players.
He was not in an Everton youth team playing in the EPL, so that argument does not hold water.
It would seem that the TIS tail is wagging the FFT dog in all this.
Common sense should prevail.
There is a place for the TIS in Tasmanian football, but it is not in the top flight. It is in the highest appropriate (my italics) competition.
If football is to be a credible sport in this State, then we need to ensure it has a top-flight competition (two competitions, in fact, if one includes the Northern Premier League) that is strong and competitive.
That precludes the inclusion of a youth side.
I have argued that a 10-team competition should have been retained and that condemning Taroona and Metro to the wilderness of Division One football was a mistake.
FFT went ahead with relegating Metro and Taroona, while University were axed at the end of the season just gone.
This was the way ahead, we were told by FFT. An eight-team top-flight competition will improve the standard of competition they said.
If this latest proposal to have a 12-team ‘Super League’ (while we’re at it, why not call it the “Super-Duper League”, or the “Uber League”) is adopted, FFT, and the game, will have little credibility in the eyes of the Tasmanian sporting public, and that includes more than just football fans.