QSL gives birth to premier league
PESSIMISTS forecast the demise of the Queensland Soccer League saying it would never survive more than a couple of seasons - they were wrong as the competition is now readying to go to the next level.
The official announcement will be made later this month but participants have been briefed on how it will progress to the next stage.
Firstly, the league will have a change of branding and be known as the Australian Premier League.
It will be recognised as the top level of football, below A-League, and known by that title in each state with competition rules standardised.
"It will take away the varying practices from state to state and put it all together, there will be some common modelling," Football Queensland chief executive Geoff Foster said.
While he said there were issues to be decided, he said he saw the basic proposed framework as very exciting.
"The silly thing is that we all play the world game and yet we all manage to play differently," he said.
"This proposal gives us a national product."
More importantly, the concept delivers an even clearer message about how the pathway to higher levels of the game can be achieved.
"From my perspective, the QSL and the Junior Premier League have done exactly what they should," Foster said.
Since the QSL began, there have been numerous examples of young players who have made it to the National Youth League, the A-League and even internationally.
Football Queensland will still run the competition in the state but criteria, playing rules and other items of common interest will be established nationally.
Foster believes the new concept will encourage more teams from the south-east to invest in their player development and join the league.
"Our ideal model is 12 teams with four or five from greater Brisbane and each major centre in the state represented," he said.
Cougars chief executive Bevan Dingley said he saw the news of an APL as a positive step as clubs tried to raise sponsorship revenue.
"We will really be the second tier of Australian football," he said.
There were a number of issues to talk through but Dingley said there were possibilities of getting financial returns through TV rights, especially if the proposed FFA Cup, an Australian version of England's FA Cup, gets under way in the future.