Queries about Falcons' national franchise bid

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 12:55 01/07/2014

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The Falcons bid to have a senior Nelson-based franchise compete in the national league has been lodged with New Zealand Football, yet it has not enjoyed unanimous support from stakeholders in Nelson.

Clive Beaumont, general manager at Nelson Bays Football, the district branch of the Mainland Football Federation said he "cannot" support TSF Incorporated's latest bid for a senior national league side. AMI Nelson Suburbs FC, who has a team in Mainland Football's Premier League, said they "will not" support the bid.

Beaumont said many people who love football in the region support the "romantic notion" of having a Nelson team play in the ASB Premiership. However, he said, without an open and transparent discussion they cannot categorically say that it would not have a negative impact in grassroots football through an increase in subs and levies.

"It's not that we do not support it; it's that we cannot support it because there is no information on which to make a decision," Beaumont said. "They refuse to disclose how they are going to run it, with what they are going to run it, or anything else."

Beaumont said he had not received an invitation to a meeting nor had he been contacted directly with any details of "anything that is being discussed by the Falcons".

"They refuse to talk to us. We have offered to talk to them. They refuse to talk to us because they refuse to have any staff member from the federation present at a meeting.

"All we want to know is how they are going to run it, with what they are going to run it and where the finance is coming from because, at the end of the day, this could have huge implications on grassroots football.

"Why, if they want to do this, will they not invite key stakeholders in the sport in the top of the south to meetings? All that, to me, just raises suspicion."

Last Monday, TSF circulated their initial proposal and bid outline to clubs in Nelson, requesting support for the bid.

Subsequently Mainland Football chief executive Mike Coggan, sent an email to all Nelson and Marlborough member clubs about what Mainland Football see as challenges posed by a Nelson Falcons senior entry in the ASB Premiership.

TSF had some success in gaining support from the bid with TSF board chair Aldo Miccio saying the FC Nelson board passed "unanimous" support and they also had the support of "every other club in Nelson". However, Nelson Suburbs weren't convinced that a senior team would be good for football, echoing the concerns of Coggan.

The AMI Nelson Suburbs FC committee sent a letter to TSF on Friday saying it is not in their membership's interest to "join in such a campaign".

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The letter gave reasons for the decision: "The funding model is understated and not assured, along with player and volunteer resources being insufficient to sustain an enduring campaign at this level."

The letter from Suburbs went on to address the Nelson-Marlborough Falcons national youth league team, suggesting that the franchise license would serve football in Nelson better if it was run by Nelson Bays Football.

"We continue to believe that a youth team is something the region can better resource, and recommend that the overseeing of this be passed to Nelson Bays Football, if the current Falcons' structure is struggling to take it forward."

In response, Miccio said that the New Zealand King Salmon Nelson Marlborough Falcons' youth team is one of the "best run franchises in the country" and they work collaboratively with the Nelson and Marlborough clubs. To this end he said it was "disappointing" to not have the support of Nelson Suburbs.

Miccio said New Zealand Football prefers franchises to be independent of associations and that full details of the bid remain commercially sensitive in a competitive bid process.

He also said the bid, and support or otherwise, is a governance issue and not a management issue.

"It's a shame some staff at Mainland and the Nelson Bays associations' feel threatened," Miccio said.

"The Mainland chairman and the board are keen to see the Falcons succeed with a bid in the national league as are all the other clubs in the region.

"[The Mainland board] are satisfied that NZF bid criteria requirements means that if our bid is successful it would have, by default, meet all their concerns around sustainability."

- The Nelson Mail

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