A SECOND Coastal Premier League (CPL) football club has joined Taree Wildcats in criticising the decision to admit two new clubs into the competition in 2022.
Coffs Harbour-based Northern Storm released a lengthy statement on the club's Facebook page this week.
"NSFC (Northern Storm Football Club) are not opposed to the future expansion of the CPL once the concerns of the existing member clubs have been addressed and at the expiration of the current licence agreement with the 10 existing member clubs,'' the release stated.
"NSFC deny statements made by Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons on September 16, in particular that NSFC was notified of the proposed expansion in January 2021 (or such earlier date), further that the NSFC and/or any other club did not raise any objections to the proposed expansion and third that two existing 'catch up weekends' will not be required in 2022, meaning the competition will only be required to be extended by up to one week.
"NSFC, along with all CPL clubs, were first notified of the expansion in a press release provided to the clubs on July 2, 2021 in a club communication headlined 'CPL announces potential expansion of the league from 10 to 12 teams' via the CPL's online communication group.
"No further correspondence, announcement or feedback, formal or informal, has been provided from the CPL.
"NSFC do not agree to the member clubs' exclusive three year licence being unilaterally amended by the CPL.
"The announcement of July 2, 2021 did not provide any member club with an opportunity to object or provide any input into the expansion and only provided links for nominations for newly interested clubs and a link for the requirement of existing clubs to note changes to its own and any new clubs CPL eligibility.
"Northern Storm supports all of the issues raised by Taree (Wildcats) in its objection to the proposed CPL expansion in 2022.''
The club had listed nearly 20 objections regarding the decision which, it claims, have yet to be addressed.
These include the length of the season; a lack of qualified match officials; and increased costs (claiming this will be $10,000 per team). The club further claims that the Coffs Harbour area, with a population of 77,000, will now support six CPL clubs. This compares to Kempsey with two (population 28,000), Port Macquarie two (population 86,000), Taree/Forster-Tuncurry two (population 45,000).
The club pointed out the CPL's problems in its two year existence with COVID-19 lockdowns and washed out games.
"NSFC are of the view that the two 'catch up weekends' in the current draw are already insufficient to meet the current fixture list and re-scheduling issues during the season. It is unreasonable for any planning to be considered which does not account for wash-outs in 2022 which impact football each and every year and the possibility of future disruptions due to future impacts of new COVID-19 variants,'' the club continued.
Taree Wildcats president Ben Sedlen first aired his concerns about the addition of two new clubs in a back page article in the Manning River Times and the paper's online platforms on Wednesday, July 7. Mr Sedlen had been contacted by the Times for comment.
Last week the Wildcats released a statement on its Facebook page and in the Times.
Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons told the Port Macquarie News last week the Wildcats were the only CPL club to object to the expansion. He said these concerns were taken on board by management
"There were numerous discussions held about (expansion) and it was no secret, it was certainly very public about the intention right from the beginning," he told the News.