Fury Call For Expanded Pathway
Words: Michael Flynn
Northern Fury is adamant that the talented player pathway in north Queensland must be expanded into the Foxtel National Youth League and Westfield W-League.
Fury Chairman Rabieh Krayem outlined his vision for greater representation for regional Queensland in the two competitions as a stepping stone to Hyundai A-League expansion in the longer term.
He said the growth of the game outside the capital cities is dependent on increasing opportunities for both male and female footballers to play at the highest levels and called for a year-round competitive program that complements the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues.
“We feel that we deserve a National Youth League team in the region,” Krayem stated.
“It is disappointing that for the size of Queensland there is only one youth league team and it is based out of Brisbane.”
“Players have to leave the region in the north to head down south to fulfill their ambitions. If we are talking truly about the development of the game then I think the first step is to give the region a youth league team.”
“At the same time we are a strong advocate of a women’s team and we have seen significant growth in the women’s game in north Queensland.”
As a precursor, Krayem said his club intends to push for Fury’s Women’s team to compete in the PlayStation 4 NPL Queensland Women’s competition next season when participation licences are set for review by Football Queensland.
He also remains open to Fury’s fielding a Youth Men’s side in the state wide competition as well.
He explained additional high-level fixtures through the summer builds upon the platform established by the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues, where Fury currently field a predominantly youthful and locally-based squad.
“We’re a good example where out of our senior NPL squad of twenty-odd players all but two or three of them come from the local area.”
“I think having the NPL and then expanding the NYL and W-League would work quite well because that then gives them all year round games.”
Krayem said his club is in contact with Football Federation Australia and is ready to be part of an expanded Foxtel National Youth League competition and Westfield W-League as early as next season.
“When (Fury Director of Coaching) Ian Ferguson joined the club we went down and met with David Gallop and Damien de Brohun from the FFA, and over the last twelve months have met with (National Technical Director) Eric Abrams.”
“We made it very clear that we see for the northern region a W-League team and a National Youth League team and we want that to be stepping stone to apply for an A-League licence at the right point in time.”
He clarified that any potential team would draw on support from a radius of several hundred kilometres north, south and west of the Townsville, citing a regional population figure of near half-a-million residents.
“It’s about taking the game to the people and football is the number one game in Townsville in terms of attendance numbers for juniors across the board,” Krayem explained.
“For the development of the game we would also like to see the Olyroos playing here, the Matildas playing here and we think we can get the crowds.”
Krayem was adamant that Fury boast the facilities and the financial support from the local community to run teams in both the Foxtel National Youth League and Westfield W-League.
He said operating the two additional teams would cost well under a million dollars a season.
“The cost to run a youth league and a national women’s league team are not that significant compared to running an A-League club.”
“There’s also no doubt we also have the facilities to support both teams. We have some of the best facilities in the country, I believe, at the Townsville Sports Reserve.”
However, Krayem was also clear that the desire for representation in the Foxtel National Youth League and Westfield W-League was not solely dependent on a Hyundai A-League licence eventually materializing.
“We aren’t spruiking that we want an A-League licence today. We are saying that for the development of the game we need to take the game to the next level in the region,” he concluded.