Phoenix proposal rejected

Headshot of Justin Fris
Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Former Phoenix winger Bright Ababio in action for the Phoenix during happier times for the club.
Camera IconFormer Phoenix winger Bright Ababio in action for the Phoenix during happier times for the club. Credit: South Western Times

The South West Phoenix’s application to fill the remaining vacancy in the men’s State league division 2 competition has been rejected by the State league standing committee.

Following the committee’s recommendation of Perth-based club Canning City filling the void, governing body Football West ratified the decision.

The Phoenix withdrew from the State league division one competition prior to the 2019 season after they were unable to fill the required number of teams.

Both parties met following the withdrawal, with Football West instructing which steps ideally needed to be taken in order for the Phoenix to return to the State league pyramid.

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Phoenix president Jen Curtis told the South Western Times she was notified by Football West of the decision on Monday afternoon via phone.

“We are very disappointed and frustrated with Football West that we have not been included in the State league competition for 2020,” she said.

“Considering the initial discussions back in February when we went to Football West to discuss our issues about not being able to field three teams due to the lack of playing numbers.

“So at that meeting it was discussed and agreed the South West Phoenix would come back down to the South West, gain support from the South West Soccer Association and that re-entry into the 2020 State league with the support of the SWSA and local clubs was the direction to go.

“So we spent the year doing that.

“The various reasons why we could not field those teams were addressed internally by the club and we have done a lot of restructuring as well.”

In a written statement, Football West explained the rationale behind the committee’s decision and indicated it was keen for the Phoenix to compete in the Belt Up amateur premier division next season – which is one tier below State league division 2.

“Football West, along with representatives of the State league standing committee, outlined the requirements and process for re-entering the competition,” a spokesman wrote.

“This included that Phoenix may need to win promotion via the Belt Up amateur premier division.

“Talented junior footballers in the South West will continue to have the opportunity to play at the highest level in the State – as South West Phoenix will still have U13, U14, U15 and U16 teams in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) WA competition.

“Football West has put forward the opportunity for South West Phoenix to be offered a place in the Belt Up amateur premier division, which is one tier below State league division 2.”

Curtis confirmed the club had been offered a place in the amateur premier division, but was concerned about how the move could impact the players and the SWSA competition.

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