COMMENT : It’s deja-vu all over again

It’s a catch-up weekend in the NPL Queensland but only three matches will be caught up out of nine that have been deferred from earlier in the season. Thankfully, another two are scheduled for 29 August but what’s the fate of the other four that are still yet to be rescheduled?

Those matches are:

Round 1 – Brisbane Roar v Palm Beach

Round 4 – SWQ Thunder v Moreton Bay

Round 7 – Moreton Bay v Brisbane Roar

Round 15 – Palm Beach v Western Pride

How is it that there are only five weeks left in the season but there are still so many early season matches that have yet to be rescheduled?

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The response from the NPL’s official Twitter account is curious. How long does it take for clubs to agree on a rescheduled match date? Round one was played back in March and when the fixture was released in January, it was well known that the Brisbane Roar v Palm Beach fixture could not be played at that time due to the Roar’s final match of the National Youth League. Surely this match could have been scheduled for a later date as part of the fixture release.

It seems as though no lessons were learned from last year’s experience where there was a traffic jam of matches played in August. This resulted in Palm Beach fielding their youth side in a senior match so as to have adequate rest for the finals; the SWQ Thunder v Redlands match was cancelled and not played at all while there was a delay in the scheduling of semi-finals as Olympic had a mid-week game three days before the finals which had a direct impact on their ladder finish and who their finals opponent would be.

Each of the four yet to be scheduled matches has a role in determining who the 2015 Premiers will be as well as who will play finals. Put simply, it’s not an option to cancel any of these matches.

Palm Beach in particular will be severely inconvenienced as they have FFA Cup commitments to work around. The Sharks may get one benefit though, they look set to take on a weaker Roar outfit than what they would have originally. Same too for Moreton Bay, something that will most likely rankle the other Premiership aspirants, Brisbane Strikers and Olympic.

We first raised this issue back on 5 May. The NPL’s own competition rules (6.12) state that the home club has seven days in which to provide the preferred option for rescheduling. Rules and regulations are put in place to ensure that the integrity of the competition is maintained. Therefore, it is important the organising body adheres to their own policies. 

Football administrators must learn from this issue that has occurred two years running to ensure the validity of the competition is not questioned in future seasons. Games that are deferred for whatever reason need to be rescheduled and played as soon as possible after the original match date. It also provides fairness to the players who expect to play a full season of matches.