Tweedclubs left in limbo

By CHRIS HILL

THE immediate playing future of a handful of Tweed soccer clubs remains clouded after a meeting with Football Far North Coast officials (FFNC) ended without resolution.

FFNC general manager Matt Kelso attended the meeting Tuesday night in a bid to clarify newly introduced registration guidelines that potentially could prevent clubs Tweed clubs from playing in the Gold Coast Soccer (GCS) competition.

The regulations, that state clubs must register with the closest available association, have caused unrest with the handful of Tweed clubs that have in past seasons played in the Gold Coast competition.

Representatives from three of the five Tweed clubs most affected by the new regulations attended Tuesday's meeting but Kelso said there had been little joy.

"There was not a positive outcome from the meeting," Kelso said.

"A lot more dialogue on the big issues is needed to resolve this matter."

The dispute centres on the new National Registration Regulations floated in October by Football Federation Australia (FFA) chairman Frank Lowy.

Lowy said the regulations, that came into effect on January 1, stipulate that clubs must register with their nearest association in a bid to unify and strengthen those regions.

Lowy's stance has caused unrest on the Tweed where clubs have historically had two competitions - FFNC and GCS to choose from.

Some Tweed clubs, including Murwillumbah and Kingscliff, have traditionally opted to play in the Gold Coast competition.

"At the moment we are in Premier League and in our opinion, the Gold Coast competition is the stronger one to be in," Murwillumbah Services Soccer Club president Lionel McCloy said earlier this month.

"If we had to play on the Far North Coast it would be a massive backward step."

Jeay Love, president of the Kingscliff District Soccer Club which has already registered with GCS for the 2007 season, said he had sought more time from FFNC to consider the club's future.

"The new regulations were thrust upon us late last year, around November and December, and with Christmas time and the holidays it was an unreasonable amount of time to change," Love said.

"We have been a part of Gold Coast soccer, as a founding member, since 1984."

But while the new registration regulations are expected to be enforced, Kelso said all is not lost for Tweed clubs wishing to continue playing in the Gold Coast competition.

There is provision for clubs to apply to the FFA for exemption from the new zoning restrictions, he said.

However, Kelso could not rule out sanctions being handed down by the sport's national body if clubs refused to register in their local region.

Kelso said a board meeting would be held next week to discuss the matter further and said it was imperative that the issue be resolved before the seasons start.

Kingscliff will hold its player sign-on week from Saturday February 3 to Friday 9, 12-4pm weekends and 6.30-8.30pm on week nights.



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