Thursday, November 26, 2009

Will FFT shoot itself in the foot again?

There is a new amended proposal doing the rounds to accommodate the Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS) in southern Tasmania’s top-flight football competition.

After some opposition was voiced to the proposal to have the TIS playing in the Premier League, it was suggested that the TIS could, perhaps, play in the Premier League Reserve competition.

Another proposal was that the TIS could play in a separate competition involving Premier League and Division One opponents and played in midweek.

This latest proposal, however, involves the formation of a ‘Super League’ next season, consisting of the eight Premier League clubs, the top three Division One clubs, and the TIS.

This means a 12-team competition and 22 matches in the south.

Division One would consist of the left-overs and there would be no promotion or relegation into or out of the top flight.

What, then, was the point of this past season’s on-field battles to avoid relegation or win promotion?

It was all for nought if this proposal is adopted.

I have asked these questions before, and I will ask them again.

What is the purpose of the top-flight competition?

Is it for the development of the TIS players, or is it the showcase for Tasmanian football?

I think it is the showcase for Tasmanian football.

There are already promising youngsters in the ranks of most of the top-flight teams.

They are benefiting from playing in the same team with more experienced players.

The TIS is comprised completely of young, developing players, and that is a different kettle of fish.

They will struggle in a senior competition.

It has been argued by proponents of the TIS playing in the top flight that Wayne Rooney was only 16 when he played for Everton in the English Premier League (EPL).

But, it is conveniently overlooked that Rooney was in a team comprised of older and more experienced players.

He was not in an Everton youth team playing in the EPL, so that argument does not hold water.

It would seem that the TIS tail is wagging the FFT dog in all this.

Common sense should prevail.

There is a place for the TIS in Tasmanian football, but it is not in the top flight. It is in the highest appropriate (my italics) competition.

If football is to be a credible sport in this State, then we need to ensure it has a top-flight competition (two competitions, in fact, if one includes the Northern Premier League) that is strong and competitive.

That precludes the inclusion of a youth side.

I have argued that a 10-team competition should have been retained and that condemning Taroona and Metro to the wilderness of Division One football was a mistake.

FFT went ahead with relegating Metro and Taroona, while University were axed at the end of the season just gone.

This was the way ahead, we were told by FFT. An eight-team top-flight competition will improve the standard of competition they said.

If this latest proposal to have a 12-team ‘Super League’ (while we’re at it, why not call it the “Super-Duper League”, or the “Uber League”) is adopted, FFT, and the game, will have little credibility in the eyes of the Tasmanian sporting public, and that includes more than just football fans.


observer said...

How right you are again Walter.Your comment re Wayne Rooney is spot on.He was playing in the Premier League at 16.There were not 11 Wayne Rooneys ,all 16 years of age , playing in the Premier League against men . I can understand the intention of having the TIS playing at that level , but is it the correct thing to do ?
Many of these boys are still only 14 years of age and tucked in to bed by mum at night.Nothing wrong with that at that age mind you.Imagine Gary Upton or Paul Cairns needing to go in for a 50-50 ball against one of these boys !Will they pull out ? I dont think so and they shouldnt either. There wouldnt be much left of the opposition.The TIS is about the development of the individual as a player isnt it ?Not the development as a team. If that is the case, then they should be playing in a league against other Institute sides around the country.Maybe that should be the pathway for our better players rather than the A League concept ? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

whether FFT shoot themseves in the foot again or not.
I think this is a good proposal.

Dropping to Eight teams in the Premier League certainly did not improve the standard. The thought of player's leaving their clubs that have been relegated to play premier league only happens for the minority of "FIGJAM" players. Others will be loyal and I think that is why the Div 1 comp was so lop sided.
Atleast with this proposal club's such as Dosa, Nelson, Hobart Utd & Christian also have the oportunity to play in a consistant competitive league which would hopefully bring back Huon Valley and Kingston Cannons.
I am however concerned for the TIS team whom were competitive at u/19 level where playing against boys of their own age, but fell short and were knocked out first round in the more competitive u/19 cup which only included one or two more u/19 players that were playing at senior level. Have to agree with observer, how will they front up against a Gary Upton or Paul Carins?

I guess the question that ewveryone would like answered by FFT, is when will the decision be made????

Amazed said...

What this proposal would do for Dosa, Nelson, Hobart Utd & Christian is for at least 5 years condemn them to being social clubs - this would ignore any attempt by them to grow through commitment to juniors/youth/women.

Dropping to eight teams did lessen the number of blowout scores and did provide for an even competition whereby any team could match it with any other - 4th in south winning state premiership for example even though having lost to lower placed southern teams during the season.

Promotion / relegation (and final four) meant that every game counted right until the end for both Premier and top Division One teams.

FFT are there for all Tasmanian players -- some 14,000 registered players. Are FFT now going to change everything so that the most promising players get to play 'above their weight' at the expense of a credible and sustainable competition that the non-elite can aspire to participate in?


Dear oh dear all change down south, when was this put about??

Glad Im involved in the north we may have fewer teams etc but at least we have stability

Anonymous said...

FFT, what the hell are you thinking. We are already the laughing stock of Australian Football, don't make it any worse. What the **** is going going on! The people in charge have no idea, dear lord.

Brian Roberts said...

Do we know who the author of the " plan " is ?

Richard Bennett said...

AFL tasmania would be my guess Brian. I smell a conspiracy.

Richard Bladel said...

This proposal is a flawed idea, I reckon. Having an 8 team comp might take a little while to strengthen it, with some rusted on players maybe taking time to move across to Premier teams. Though even this might not happen as Div 1 & Premier is still social football, really, and a lot of players value the social side playing with their mates more than anything else. To now change things over night is a little farcical. In the 09 season Uni proved that the problem with playing the TIS kids in the top flight will be the same as they experienced with their Premier Reserves team being full of (fairly small) under 19's. There were a few guys in there who are decent players, but they were in no way strong, quick or experienced enough to mix it with seasoned players. While some of them were technically reasonable, they were left frustrated by not being able to compete as individuals or as a team. I was skeptical but open to the idea at the time, but I now know it was a mistake. This is what I fear will happen to most of the TIS kids, who I understand are also quite small & young, except for guys like Will Abbott who could play Premier now no worries in any team.

Is there any truth in the rumour that FFA have stepped in on this issue with a warning to fall in line or else?

jerrie kruijver said...

developing a sport is not catering for a few talented kids but instead it should be turning 14000 participants into 20000 participants.i agree with walter that leagues of 8 teams is not big enough,however that is what was decided upon.noone can deny that the premierleague was competetive and pretty even.the logical thing to do was to make every league consist of 8 teams,including the present divisions 3 and 4 and have promotion and relegation all the way down,that way the way is open to every club that aspires to play premierleague to get there by proving on the park they belong there.nothing can be fairer to all concerned.most talented kids are not with tis but with clubs and a lot of them find their way into their topsides because their coaches recognise their talent.fft should stop tinkering with the competition and instead devote all its time and effort to make sure that every kid that starts kicking a soccerball finds his or her way into a club.too many are falling thru the cracks when they get to highschool.

Banksie said...

I agree walter.
My point is that you need to give things a chance to work. FFT committed to an 8 team premier league last year and it was why change.
I understand why the TIS want to play at the highest level but to my mind they will get a flogging every week. Not good for morale or dvelopment i would have thought.
Likewise the top Div 1 teams.
The difference in standard between Premier and Div 1 is huge and just plonking a few extra teams in the top flight won't change that.
Give the kids a chance, but pit them against Div 1 in it's current format, with a review at the end of the season.

jerrie kruijver said...

surely tis is purely there to give special coaching only and the intention is to get these kids to take what they have learned back to their original clubs or move on to bigger things with profesional clubs.if that is not the case then tis should register as a club and be made to earn its place just like any other club should.

smithers ol man said...

Ok lets simplify it all .
TIS need good competion.
The league in all divisions needs the same and some ongoing system that doesnt change like Tassies weather.
Play the 8 team competition as per last season, add in a midweek roster for TIS involvment were they play div1 one week top flight following week div2 week after and so on.
That way they win some lose some gain skills , dont become wipping boys or open to injury from players at top level seeing them as targets to crush to reach a premiership.
This would free them up for play with there own clubs during weekends and offer good training for there opponents mid week without there need to be involved in a premiership race .
This would achieve there goals of development and stop any stigma of select player tags being thrown at them.

jerrie kruijver said...

irate,lol this is tasmania,the only place on earth where complicating simole matters has become an artform.

jerrie kruijver said...

oops,i meant simple matters

observer said...

irate1 , your suggestion of playing mid week has been the rumour for weeks now. Dont make out that it is your idea and that you have come up with a solution.

smithers ol man said...

observer i never claimed the idea just reinforced commonsense which i find totally lacking in tasmanian soccer of late .
i am no soccer wizard or magic guru just a dad who has been around tas soccer for over 15 years doing my bit for clubs and team manager jobs etc and this is becoming a complicated fix to an easy problem .
the heirachy needs to step back regroup and wake up a little before the sport becomes a farce in tassie

smithers ol man said...

jerry true it is tassie and surprise surprise some of us take an interest in seeing things done right ive heard enough two headed tassie jokes to last a life time and they wont stop till we get it all together in sport and in general.
we both have been through the grindmill from junior level and only want to see it prosper .

googles said...

what the hell is going on with fft, there are not enough good players to have 8 teams, instead of increasing to 12 i say decrease to 6 teams and get 4 northern teams in and have a state leauge

Amazed said...

Despite initially flagging it as a possibility - TIS no longer wish to play midweek - as they want to include the U15 state team as a Second Tier, and U14 State team as third tier. And they dont want the Northern players having to travel to and from Hobart for matches midweek. They actually want to be treated as a club - but allowed to play where they think is best for the boys development - they (being TIS and FFT C&D mgr) believe Southern Premier League for TIS, Southern Premier Reserrves for U15's and Southern Premier U19's for U14's is the right way to go.

To try and facilitate that they are saying expand the Southern Premier league to an even number so their inclusion doesnt create a bye. Increase to 10 leaves a very hard call for FFT to make as to which club would come back in. Make it twelve and the three 'serious contenders' fron Div One pick themsleves. Hence their attempt to get a "Super League" created.

TIS has an aim of providing a pathway for identification into National Squads, identification as possible A League players, identification as possible National Youth League players, and identification as possible Premier League players in mainland states.

To fulfil that aim they need appropriate opposition on a regular basis.

It would seem however that the effect on CLUBS is not important to TIS - even though it is a club based FFT that brought TIS into being, and continues to contribute to it.

TIS players who dont make it onto any of those paths will come back into the club system when no longer being offered a TIS scholarship - they will be excellent technicians with plenty of exposure to tactical play and valued players on the local club scene. They will be so regardless of which league they play in - they will still be coached by TIS expert coaches with full TIS support - they will play in Institute challenges against the best from other states.

The midweek series idea is a good one - an excellent example of just how far the Southern Premier and Division One clubs are prepared to go to support the TIS - and the TIS should try and make it work rather than try and INSIST it be allowed in the Premier League.

Coxy said...

make this super league a state league and put the tis in either the northern or suthern div 1 with left over premier league clubs....Not that hard is it?

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand what gives the TIS squad the right to be put ahead of some other teams in the current Division 1 to play in the so called Super League and not earn their spot like everyone else.

Why can't we promote a club that already exists and promote a club from DIV 1 such as Christian United, Hobart United or DOSA.

Why shouldn't one of these clubs be placed ahead of the TIS along with the other so called "big" teams from DIV 1.

I think that we are bending over backwards for a team that is after all a development squad.

Why don't the TIS players continue to train with the TIS and compete with a club on the weekends to fulfill their playing hunger!

Captain said...

Spot on. The TIS potentially should include players from a range of ages 13 - 17 or higher??

Why should these athletes then have to play as a team in our Premier League??

In its first year TIS members Liam Scott and Tob Wooley played with Sth Hobart on weekends.

This is a far more sensible approach.

However, it does not provide the coach with the ego-massaging activity of winning a competition.

Anonymous said...

Who is jerrie kruijver, did he ever play at the highest level in tassie. the name doesnt ring a bell. Can anyone provide me with which club or division he played for, before I can take him serioursly..........

smithers ol man said...

anonymous ---- i did a quick check of players and coachs funny that i dont find any named anon. y . mous mentioned but i do know a jerrie kruijver does that mean we shouldnt take you seriously haha maybe you played in the walt disney league along side mickey mous.
sorry just having a dig out of boredom its all good better to comment than sit back whinging

Anonymous said...

Isnt fft and tis a totally different organisation??
I think that the Tis should allow all there players to play for there club on the weekends, this will also be another support for there development. The Tis should then organise for themselves friendly matches with the various clubs around the place. Just imagine if the tis team got a 8-0 flogging each week, there would be no turning back. This would also give them the opportunity to play at a higher or lower level if need be.
The Tis and Fft are different organisations, we must remember that

Who cares said...

In disappointing news for tassie AFL fans the AFL Commisison has announced that Tasmania will not get the 21st license in the AFL after all. That spot, according to Andrew Demitrieu, will go to the AIS AFL team.

The AFL supremo said that development of young talent is far more important than a bunch of clubs playing silly buggers each week.

Not sure if this a coincidence or not but several London tabloids have reported that the English FA has decreed that the England U17s will take the spot of the 20th ranked team in the EPL in 2010/2011 season.

EPL managers are believed to be outraged. Sir Alex Furgeson is reported to have said, "Just because Tasmania is considering it with their Preier League doesn't mean we should follow suit!"

Anonymous said...

TIS are being far too overrated, the coach has just dropped some of its older players who are decent players, and chosen much less capable lads of 2 years younger who will get there arses kicked playing even reserves, the older players should be extended by playing with clubs such as liam scott who is a big success due to playing regular first team football under the best coach in tasmania.

Anonymous said...

when people realise that the TIS football program is not a stand alone system, and is in fact part of not just FFT but also mandated by FFA guidelines then we will probally see progress.

It is my understanding that the superleague as you call it was the idea of the Clubs not TIS or FFT.

The institute programs are mandated by FFA to play a set system and develope players who are technically capable to play that system. If the players retun to clubs at weekends they will never been given the oppotunity to play that way, and thus fall even further behind the National development pathway than ther peers at other Institutes programs.


I tend to agree with Jerry surely any development program is purely that to develop the players and give special coaching to identified players giving them the opoortunity to go as far as they can in their football. Whether this eventually be the EPL, A League or their respective local comps. I personally dont believe there is a place for the TIS in local comps. The idea of playing the SPL teams midweek is a good option. Midweek and carnivals etc and free them up for their clubs on the weekends where the program allows

Anonymous said...

"Rangers President" - so you would expect the parents of these 14-15 y/o's to travel to the other end of the state be it North or South every Wednesday evening?

Get real guy's....... Most club's have said they won't do that on a weekend to be in a State League.

I say give the TIS a birth in DIV 1, this will even up the teams to an 8 team comp. Then the whole state can have a full year to decide if they're competitive and or strong enough to compete the following year in Premier League.

Amazed said...


Thats the whole point - kids in other states have done just that for years and years - yet we treat it as some huge hurdle.

There are many issues associated with a TIS (or any develoment side) playing in a promotion/relgation league.

They could, of course, play in the Northern Premier League.

Who cares said...

talking about TIS "peers" in other States - do they play in a State Premier League comp?

Big joke. Are there really 16 boys in Tassie who are National potential?

NO. I dare anyone to say otherwise!

How about sending anyone who is good enough, when we find one, to the big island and spend the rest of our $00,000s on something worthwhile.

Liam Scott has been better off at Sth Hobart playing with and against quality opposition with a real coach. Now he is ready he's trying his luck across the ditch.


Anonymous said...

whys everyone complaining about them having to travel during the week. Dont parents have to take there kids to soccer on the saturday anyway?? Most of the TIS recipients live or are located in the south now anyway, even if they did live in the north then they would have to travel everyweek if they played in the southern league

Anonymous said...

bit different during the week when people have work and shcool.....or are you too narrow minded to think of others?

Sir Trevor Brooking said...

This TIS proposal is the usual response to elite player development: bung them all in one team and let's take on the world! If we win we are world beaters! If we lose?... Well they are all men and mature players and they should beat us! Pathetic isn't it. The 'lack of suitable opposition' argument is insulting. We are not talking about Pele or Ronaldo here: but the TIS thinks their charges are perhaps? The TIS boys should be playing with other players in different teams AGAINST other TIS players. TIS members should also get their specialised training together in another location. They would get their specialised training AND strengthen the leagues they play in. We know that 99.95% of these boys will not make the top level. This 'elite' approach burns them out and they quit the game. Instead, let us build strong social and cultural club links and keep these kids playing the beautiful game.

Anonymous said...

TIS lost to the Metro under 19s team this year. (Thats all australian players, no scottish imports in the team....)
So what gives them the "divine right" to be in Premier league rather than Metro?

I see no problem with them staying in the Under 19s premier league. even if it means having a bye. It's not like they were beating the teams in that league 12-0 and need a tougher challenge.

But i also think Coxy's idea is suitable and makes logical sense.

Anonymous said...

I believe the Super league would be a joke. Without relegation or promotion Division 1 will just be another social league as there would be no experience coming back down. Also, the Premier (or Super League) would become predictable and stagnate. I agree with Walter that kids should not have teams in the top flight. By all means they should play, if they are good enough, but there's so much of our beautiful game that can be learnt through the experience of others.

tasguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Abbott said...

I think a lot of the comments above are msde from a positoin of ignorance in relation to the structures, game plans, learning requirements and goals of the TIS, FFT,AIS and FFA. Many of these comments don't seem to be helpful to anyone.

the sheppard said...

back to the state league again i think. teams that don't want it or can't afford get out give a chance to a div team- or have all the southern teams play off fa cup style to determine the six teams, and likewise for the north. 12 team state leaguein regards to the TIS, a couple of the kids don't deserve to be there any way, if only there was a 15 year old c. smith running around. in my opinion here is the only players that could have played in the old state league- clarence: luke cripps
knigborough: charlie white
new town: chris wass, nathan pitchford
knights: fishy
sth hobart: hickey and beecroft- don't even give me that liam scott BS
zebras: mainella and crossa
uni: none
olympia: none but they can run the canteen

Anonymous said...


every other State Institute plays in a high level competition, be it State leagues or Premier Leagues. Prehaps thats why all their players are in the AIS, and National Squads.

simon said...

here here anonymous. with comments like that it would be worthwhile to chuck your user name in. i would be interested to hear more.

Who cares said...

I wonder what the TIS, FFT,AIS and FFA edict is on 17 years olds training and playing alongside 13 year olds.

Good for the 13 year olds maybe but don't know what the 17 yo gets out of it - other than maybe living the improbable dream for another 12 months or until the TIS decides enough is enough

SURELY the older boys would be better off with their peers not junior wannabes

Rick Abbott said...

I don't understand why so many individuals and clubs seem so against giving a pathway like the TIS the opportunity to develop and evolve into something really worthwile for our young up and coming players. No other pathway to the top seems to exist from Tassie.

As has been pointed out earlier a spin off of the process is that the real beneficiaries in the longer term will be the clubs who are realistically likely to recruit most of the players within a 2-3 year timeframe. Why wouldn't they support it.

The system will probably never be perfect and may well take some time to flow through but as they say, "Rome wasn't built in a day".

Anonymous said...

The concept of the TIS is a good one.Where I believe it is not efficient is in the treatment of the TIS as a squad. It should be about personal development of the individual as an individual and also as a player ,not the development of a team. I know that the individuals will also develop in a team environment ,but what development ,will the older boys who are still in the program , have to look forward to when half the side now consists of 14 year olds ? And that is not a criticism of the younger ones. Surely those who have been in the system for a couple of years now should be moving on ,if they have not yet been identified externally by now ?
In my opinion the TIS this year should have been a new batch of 14 years olds ,beginning from scratch together ,if it is a team environment that is the aim. Otherwise allow the individuals to play for their clubs and attend additional training with the TIS on other nights where appropriate.

jerrie kruijver said...

would it be possible for all the under 19 coaches to get together with tis and follow the coaching standards that tis is setting,that way all those kids would benefit

the sheppard said...

jerrie and co. noone i'm sure is knocking the TIS pathway- but the right system and the right people who can think more than a few months ahead are whats required to make it successful in the long run. do any of the under 19 coaches have any other experience at state level coaching, or are they just current players getting punished by their club to do extra work??

jerrie kruijver said...

shep,very good point.but that is where fft as the body in charge should step in.even if those coaches are only explayers who are willing to give their time to these kids,if they follow the guidelines that tis is setting and regularly consult with tis then the whole league would benefit.the standards would raise and every team gets better competition,including tis.also let the better teams compete in the summercups.tis kids played well in the hudsoncup,i am sure some of the other teams would too

rocket said...

Watching The Ais play in Vic premier league should only put our local soccer experts off including the boys into our local competition.
Playing in Canberra in front of 5 people with no interest in developing the competition.
Fully support youth development as I would but to what extend- devaluing our premier league in the south of the state.

What has happened to the games against A league second sides and the like which will further develop our kids as they need to play against good opposition outside the local comp.
These games where a good start but what has gone wrong since then.
(lack of dollars or what).
These kids need to earn the right to play with club sides not be gifted a spot in the comp by FFT.

Only my thoughts but as I now watch most games interstate as can not stand to see the game continuing to go backwards as it has over many years.

I am only to happy to assist in any way if it will see soccer or football go forward.


Rod Sanders

Amazed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amazed said...


No bye in National Youth League - makes it more difficult to arrange - and without FFA support the excercise is very costly - as the NYL teams dont see any benefit for them. This is the same reason that attempts to get mainland teams to tassie for senior matches have fallen short.

Am sure FFT would appreciate you putting any ideas you may have direct to them.