OPINION: I hear that the ILT is funding Southern United (previously Otago United) in the football national league.
This is the top level of football below the Phoenix club and the national side.
The dilemma for Invercargill/Southland football is that we do not have a team in the Otago/Southland Premier League after Football South (based in Dunedin) reduced the league from 10 to eight teams and the Invercargill team finished ninth.
So, for young players coming through the development system in our city, there is now no pathway for them to potentially make that Southern United side. They will play in Donald Gray (the local club competition). The step to the national league is now too steep with no intermediate competition.
It is like expecting a local club rugby player to step directly into the Super 15, with no ITM cup team.
It is my view that the Otago Premier League should have an automatic entry for both Queenstown (which has significant player strengths) and Invercargill, with the remaining six teams from Dunedin.
The solution to the current issue would be to have a nine-team competition with Old Boys retained as a pathway.
The fact that Southern United and the Federation Board are separate bodies is not an excuse for this farce prevailing.
The local Southland Football and ILT now have some leverage with the available funding to force the issue.
I hope something positive prevails on this issue.
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