Tough Love But Necessary: New Commissioner Makes A Stand
Flashback to the 2017/18 and 2018 seasons where the women’s league was just that, one league, with no second-tier competition, no youth competition and the gap between the top 4 and the bottom 4 was light years. Players, rightly so, were demanding for more attention to be paid to the women. The pressure was relentless from all sides, the women’s game deserved more coverage, deserved a more professional competition, it deserved a 2-tier competition!
Then the 2018/19 season arrived. Series Futsal stepped it up and turned it’s attention on the women’s game. The league more than doubled the number of teams, climbing from 8 teams to a record 20 teams, forming a 2nd tier competition as well as a youth girls’ competition. Weekly player interviews were introduced and successfully marketed to the public which put the women’s game in the spot light. Live commentary became a regular part of the production and Series Futsal even went as far as to live stream the 2nd division, something not even the men’s competition has had the privilege of experiencing. The women’s game was now the priority and that was the clear statement from Series Futsal.
Flashforward now to the end of season presentation night, and how poorly the women’s players failed to represent themselves. The Champions cleaned up on Series Futsal’s night of nights, yet they were nowhere to be seen. SFVW 2 champions South Melbourne were also absent and only Mary Hubeek was there to receive her MVP award. There would be no celebration, no team photo, no recognition of the individual award winners. Of the 15 players selected for the Victorian All-Star squad only one, Rebecca Davies, was there to represent the squad. “Disgraceful is the only way to sum this one up” was the reaction of one of the players in attendance who prefers to remain anonymous.
To top it all off the current WSFA, WSFV and WSFV2 champions will not continue into the new season. Westside, Moreland and South Melbourne have pulled the plug for the 2019 season. The Moreland’s women’s gaffa was perhaps the most vocal in her sharp criticism of Series Futsal’s approach to the women’s game and to have her team pull out after a successful women’s campaign is disappointing. What now is the excuse for the women’s game? Perhaps it became too competitive?
On the back of these circumstances the Commission has proposed and adopted a radical change starting with the appointment of the new Commissioner Michael Tsiaras.
Tsiaras’ first project is to shake up the Women’s league. The competition will revert to one elite league, WSFV, with a youth competition. There will be no 2nd tier for the Women. There will be a 2-year freeze on the league, meaning no new teams or clubs may apply for a WSFV position. Teams that wish to apply for the women’s top division will have to prover their club is a serious WSFV squad and serve time in the Futsal Oz social leagues for a minimum period of time before being considered for application.
The WSFV is the longest running and only current all year-round elite competition for the women and the new commissioner’s number one priority is to maintain the leagues integrity. “We want teams that are fully committed to the growth of the women’s game. Team’s that cannot maintain a consistent presence in the league are not contributing to the direction in which we intend to take the game” new Commissioner Michael Tsiaras.
He also added “The junior girls coming through the youth league will be a key focus“
A new structure will be finalised and revealed in the coming days.
What do you think of the freeze out? Is the commission going to far?