The record rainfall in the Illawarra this year has wreaked havoc on the Football South Coast Men’s Premiership competitions leaving many questioning how the seasons would be completed to facilitate promotion and relegation and to maximise the number of games played.
However, in a fantastic demonstration of unity, all 24 clubs from the Fraternity Club Illawarra Premier League and Peoplecare District League, in consultation with the FSC Men’s Premiership Football Council, Board and Management have agreed on a path forward.
The decision has been made to overhaul the Premier League competition to a new format while the second-tier District League will continue to play out the 22-round campaign.
The clubs also agreed to maintain the four-week final series.
From the start of round 24 (this weekend), the Premier League will be split into two pools – a top eight and a bottom four.
The top eight sides will play each other once (seven matches each) and the bottom four sides will play each other twice (six matches each) with points accumulated in these matches being added to the points tally from the first 23 rounds.
Not every side will play 22 rounds with the league championship, top five and potential relegation to be determined by the Average Points Method where the total points accumulated is divided by the number of games played to determine league positions.
In Second Grade and Youth Grade, teams will play the same opposition as their First Grade given all clubs wanted to keep all of their teams together where possible.
The Average Points Method will be used to determine the final table in both lower grades.
As for the District League, availability of grounds have been less impacted, and clubs have played 26 more games than the Premier League. As a result, clubs and the MPFC concluded the competition could see out the full 22-round campaign in First Grade.
This will see potential promotion, the top five and potential relegation remain as per the start of the season.
In the lower grades, it is unlikely all teams will play the 22 games with the final standings to be determined by the Average Point Method as used in the Premier League.
This path forward came after extensive meetings with clubs this week with the Head of the MPFC Bob Hennessy commending the commitment of clubs to delivering the best possible outcome for the two competitions.
“This has been an extremely challenging year for everyone involved in the Men’s Premiership,” Hennessy said.
“But our clubs have stepped up this week and reached a positive outcome that should allow us to complete the season in the best way possible.
“We are confident that the path we have taken for the two competitions will reinvigorate the competitions for the final stretch of the season.
“To have all 24 clubs on a unity ticket with this is something they should be proud of and I congratulate them for their hard work in reaching this outcome – now let’s get back out onto the park.”
The updated Men’s Premiership schedule can be found on the Football South Coast Match Centre website.