FOOTBALL Mid North Coast will persist with attempts to form a secondary premier league competition in the zone next year.
This is despite a lack of interest from men's Southern and Northern League clubs in the past two seasons.
Under the concept a Zone Premier League (ZPL) would comprise sides from the northern and southern competitions. It was originally designed for the FMNC premier league clubs that weren't involved in the Coastal Premier League when it started in 2020, along with strong southern and northern league clubs.
Initially there were seven nominations, including Taree, Wauchope, Camden Haven and Tuncurry-Forster, all former FMNC premier league sides. However the start of the season was delayed due to the COVID-19 lockdown, while Taree then grabbed a vacant space in the CPL.
By the time the football belatedly started there weren't sufficient teams for a viable ZPL. There was no interest from clubs in staging the competition this year.
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons said the zone will gauge interest in a ZPL for 2022, saying he believes it is a perfect avenue for leading northern and southern teams including Pacific Palms, Camden Haven and Wingham.
Camden Haven Redbacks unsuccessfully applied to join the CPL next season, missing out to Forster-Tuncurry club Southern United. The Redbacks dominated the Northern League last season, winning A and B-grade.
"Player numbers is a factor,'' Mr Parsons said.
"But I think that was due to COVID while there's a natural reluctance from some players to travel due to COVID.''
However, Mr Parsons said if clubs again spurn the ZPL, the zone might introduce a knockout-style competition involving teams from both leagues, while the champion sides from both leagues might also playoff to decide the overall zone champion.
Eleven teams contested the men's Southern League last season. The competition split into two divisions following the completion of the first round. The zone has said previously there are plans to play a full season in two divisions in 2022 providing there are enough sides. This will also apply to the Southern League women.