FFV axes finals for its NPL

Football Federation Victoria has unveiled its new National Premier Leagues format - and revealed they're ditching a local finals series for a simple first-past-the-post winner.

The state title winners will then go forward to join the FFA's Australia-wide NPL Finals series - but taking the axe to the local finals may be a surprise move for some.

Football Queensland retained their finals series for the NPLQ where the top four sides battles it out for the crown after 3000 turned out to watch last year's grand final.

But FFV President Nick Monteleone said the new-look NPL will benefit the sport across victoria, after a long divisive battle between clubs and the local governing body to make it happen.
“The structure should foster a dynamic contest throughout Victoria,” Monteleone said.
“2014 is going to be an exciting year with the NPL in Victoria kicking off in the same year FFV celebrates 130 years of football and Australia plays in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup.”
Fixtures and confirmation about promotion and relegation frameworks for senior men will be released on Wednesday, February 26 and NPL Rules of Competition on Tuesday, March 4.
FFV Chief Executive Mitchell Murphy said the NPL begins an exciting new chapter in Victorian football.
He added: “FFV looks forward to collaborating with the clubs along a journey of enhancing the standard of our great game by developing top quality players and coaches.
"Our timeframes for implementation are obviously tight and I am conscious many clubs are facing some logistical challenges.
"I applaud the football family for its support and encourage everyone to embrace the long-term benefits NPL will deliver for our game after this year of transition."
The senior men and under 20 competitions will consist of two leagues:
NPL which is made up of Ballarat Red Devils, Bentleigh Greens, Dandenong Thunder, Goulburn Valley Suns, Green Gully Cavaliers, Heidelberg United, Hume City, Melbourne Knights, Northcote City, Oakleigh Cannons, Pascoe Vale, Port Melbourne Sharks, South Melbourne and Werribee City
And NPL1, comprising Avondale Heights, Bendigo Amateur Soccer League, Box Hill United, Brunswick City, Dandenong City, Eastern Lions, FC Bulleen Lions, Kingston City, Moreland Zebras, North Geelong Warriors, Richmond, Springvale White Eagles, St Albans Saints, Sunshine George Cross, Surf Coast and Whittlesea Rangers.
The 2014 senior men and under 20 competitions (NPL and NPL 1) will start on March 14-16 and end on September 14 and October 5 respectively. Teams will play each other twice on a home and away basis with no finals series.
In 2014, the Victorian NPL champion will be determined using the first past the post system and will represent Victoria in the national NPL finals. The first round of NPL national finals sees Victoria play Tasmania’s NPL champion.
NPL juniors will start the season on the weekend of April 6 and are scheduled to conclude on the weekend of September 23.
The junior structure will be split geographically into two conferences:
Bentleigh Greens, Box Hill United, Dandenong City, Dandenong Thunder, Eastern Lions, FC Bulleen Lions, Goulburn Valley Suns, Heidelberg United, Kingston City, Northcote City, Oakleigh Cannons, Port Melbourne Sharks, Richmond, South Melbourne and Springvale White Eagles.
Avondale Heights, Ballarat Red Devils, Bendigo Amateur Soccer League, Brunswick City, Green Gully Cavaliers, Hume City, Melbourne Knights, Moreland Zebras, North Geelong Warriors, Pascoe Vale, St Albans Saints, Sunshine George Cross, Surf Coast, Werribee City and Whittlesea Ranges.
Each team will play every other team within its conference once. Following the completion of 14 rounds, the top eight teams will play each other once more and the bottom seven teams will play each other once more to conclude the season.
For the specific age group/conferences which include an NTC or Skillaroos team, the split within that conference will take place following the conclusion of 15 rounds and will include a bottom division of eight teams.