FOOTBALL Mid North Coast is facing up to what will be a challenging year of change.
This is according to Mike Parsons, who was returned as chairman unopposed at the recent annual meeting. Mr Parsons has been on the zone's executive for 14 years and spent the last four as chairman.
Mr Parsons was also awarded life membership at the annual meeting.
"I'm 100 per cent looking forward to 2020,'' Mr Parsons said.
"There will be challenges, but this makes it exciting. I enjoy contributing to a game that I'm passionate about.''
At a senior level the first Coastal Premier League involving four clubs from Football Mid North Coast and five from North Coast Football will kickoff. Mr Parsons confirmed a vacancy remains in the competition for a club from the southern section of Football Mid North Coast.
All four FMNC clubs in the CPL are from the Hastings and Macleay areas. Wallis Lake initially nominated but withdrew last December citing concerns about travel.
"We understand that travel is an issue for some clubs,'' Mr Parsons said.
He confirmed his board would be happy to enter negotiations with clubs from the Coffs Harbour area regarding the possibility of playing matches against a southern-based clubs at a more central location, should a southern club nominate for a place in the CPL.
"But we have no jurisdiction over the Coffs Harbour clubs,'' he added.
Mr Parsons admitted the CPL remains 'a work in progress' and all aspects of the competition will be up for review. He added his board would be willing to accept a nomination from a merged entity of clubs from the southern section of the zone, providing all criteria was met.
He said the board has called for nominations for the revamped FMNC Premier League, now to be known as the Zone Premier League (ZPL).
"We're expecting to get eight to 10 clubs,'' he said.
"But there's a chance this could be over-subscribed. This is an exciting concept and it will be a premier league in its own right - it certainly won't be a second tier competition.''
He said there's a strong chance of clubs from the Manning and Great Lakes being involved and this would create local derbies, which would create extra interest.
The ZPL would be a one grade competition although the zone will introduce an under 20s this year. Fiver over age players would be allowed to play in each under 20 side and the zone is currently finalising the playing conditions.
While the under 20s would be separate to the ZPL. Mr Parsons said previously that every endeavour would be made to align the competitions when clubs with teams in both meet.
Mr Parsons said improving facilities for football on the Mid North Coast remains high on the agenda. He has met with State and federal representatives regarding the establishment of a first class football amenity in the southern section of the zone. He added plans are progressing for such a facility in the Sovereign Hill area at Port Macquarie.
He said there have been discussions with MidCoast Council regarding the establishment of a Centre of Excellence at Taree Recreation Centre, but he added there doesn't appear to be any enthusiasm from council.
"What we might need is a benefactor to give us some land to develop, as happened at Sovereign Hill,'' he said.
Mr Parsons said he has a succession plan in mind for his position.
"I'm very mindful of staying around too long and outliving my usefulness,'' he said.
But he said football is always going to be a major part of his life.
"I have grandchildren playing now and I can live more life vicariously through them,'' he smiled.