Wide Bay gets the boot
UPDATED: Football on the Fraser Coast has been thrown into a state of limbo following Football Queensland's decision to not have a Wide Bay club represented in the inaugural Australian Premier League Queensland competition.
Any hope of Wide Bay being the home of a new state league soccer club was given the boot after Football Wide Bay Zone's bid was rejected yesterday.
The zone's rival licence bid, Bundaberg Spirit, who contested this year's Queensland State League, also missed out on one of the 12 licences granted.
It now means any footballer 12 years and over that aspires to play at the elite level must travel to the Sunshine Coast or Rockhampton as the APL will replace the existing top-tier competition, theQueensland State League, and the Junior Premier League.
Despite the decision Wide Bay Zone's working committee member Phil Rimmer remained confident FQ would not leave the region out in the cold.
"We're having a meeting with FQ within the week and we're intent and confident we can establish a program similar to the one we run now," he said.
"While it's disappointing, we as a zone want to remain positive and rather focus on the meeting with FQ and establish what we want to do with our juniors as that is extremely important to us."
Only three teams - Rockhampton, Cairns and Townsville - based outside of south-east Queensland were included in the APL.
It is possible Wide Bay and Spirit's failure to strike an agreement destroyed any chance of a club in the region being represented in the new competition.
Talks broke down between the two parties with the location of where the new club would be based believed to be the key sticking point.
It is understood Spirit board members were keen to keep home games in the Rum City, but Wide Bay Zone officials wanted the new club to be based in a "centralised location", preferably on the Fraser Coast, to alow access for all players across the zone.
Rimmer said he didn't believe Football Queensland's decision would have been different if the two groups lodged a joint bid.
Next year's competition, which is set to kick-off in March, will replace the existing top-tier competition, Queensland State League, and the Junior Premier League.
Successful applicants: Brisbane City Football Club, Brisbane Strikers, Central Queensland Football Club, Far North Queensland Bulls, Moreton Bay United, Northern Fury, Olympic FC, Palm Beach Sharks, Queensland Academy of Sport, Redlands United Football Club, Sunshine Coast Fire and Western Pride Football Club