Wide Bay League premiers The Waves have already announced their decision to apply for a place in either the NPL or QPL.
Wide Bay League premiers The Waves have already announced their decision to apply for a place in either the NPL or QPL. Matthew McInerney

Wide Bay must field a QPL side to keep football thriving

WIDE Bay must be home to a National Premier League or Queensland Premier League team if football is to progress in the region.

That is the view of Football Wide Bay president Stuart Taylor, who encouraged local teams to submit expressions of interest for either or both competitions before the January 31 deadline.

Football Queensland CEO Geoff Foster said the Wide Bay had enjoyed a growth of about 6% in player numbers in recent years to be one of the state's success stories.

Taylor said it was not overly important which city out of Maryborough, Hervey Bay, Bundaberg or Gympie hosted the elite level team, but it is vital Wide Bay is represented when the new-look competitions launch in 2018.

"There are a number of things we have to work through with Football Queensland, but there needs to be NPL or QPL representation within the Wide Bay next year and for the next five years, or we will not progress as a region,” he said. "Whether that comes from Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Maryborough or Gympie is irrelevant.”

Taylor, who is affiliated with KSS Jets, said the club granted a QPL license would not necessarily be the most successful in terms of results, but fulfils a commitment to junior and grassroots development.

"One of the commitments from FQ is they're not looking for richest or most profitable club, but clubs that embrace junior development, that embraces skills development and gameplay development as a community or as a progressive club,” he said.

"(The club) isn't about winning trophies but providing an opportunity for the grassroots to easily transition or to make the elite level should be given that opportunity.

"I would say if anyone is interested, they should put an EOI in, and then when we see how many are interested in progressing it we can look at it.”

Foster confirmed two Wide Bay clubs had lodged expressions of interest.

There is a possibility both, one of which Australian Regional Media reported was The Waves, could be included in either the NPL or QPL, as Foster said there was no "geographic limit” on accepted clubs.

"The best application will be successful, and there's no geographic limit as there was with round one of the NPL where we said we'd only take one from each region,” Foster said.

"If we have two that quality and better than neighbours then they will both be offered licenses.”

Foster said there had to be some consideration to the region's ability to support multiple licenses.

The final decision will be made about May.