Wide Bay withdraws from women's NPL
WIDE Bay Buccaneers will not field a team in the women's National Premier League in 2018.
The Fraser Coast Chronicle revealed the prospective licence's plight last week.
General manager Peter Guest was set to meet with female players in Bundaberg and the Fraser Coast last weekend in a last-bid attempt for support.
Football Queensland Wide Bay president Stuart Taylor told the Chronicle the decision was finalised as soon as possible.
"We notified Football Queensland (on Wednesday) we couldn't comply with the licence, and we wanted to give them as much notice as possible,” Taylor said.
The Buccaneers, who have had a strong response to the men's Football Queensland Premier League teams, were originally awarded a licence for the women's NPL season.
On July 12, Football Queensland Wide Bay's Peter Guest said it was an enormous boost for football in the region.
"After all these years of not having anything, it is huge for our region (to be granted licence),” Guest said at the time.
Fans of teams like Western Pride and Northern Fury voiced their displeasure with Wide Bay's inclusion.
FQ revisited the decision just one week later, awarding the Pride a licence to compete based on new information about the bid.
While interest in the Buccaneers' male teams took off, there was little support for the women.
NPL clubs must field teams in under-13s, U15s, U17s and open women formats in the first season.
On October 5, the Buccaneers had enough support for a starting team in the U17s, but barely half a side in the other age groups.
Only three players had expressed interest in the opens team.
In a statement, Football Queensland said it would continue to work with FQ Wide Bay to "create opportunities for women and girls in the region”.
The Buccaneers' media release in full:
"The Wide Bay Buccaneers have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the Women's NPL competition.
Earlier this year Football Queensland offered a Women's NPL Licence to FQ Wide Bay in an endeavour to grow and develop football within the Wide Bay. Since that time, a significant amount of work has been undertaken to present teams in ages 13, 15, 17 and senior women. Unfortunately, registration numbers have not reached a level that would ensure a sustainable program.
As a result, Football Queensland have been advised that the Wide Bay Buccaneers are not able to comply with the Women's NPL Licence requirements and regretfully withdraw from the competition.
FQ Wide Bay is committed to developing a pathway for girls and women and will continue to work with the footballing community to ensure that a localised program is developed.
We would like to thank the players that did complete an expression of interest for the Women's NPL and sincerely apologise for the disappointment that this decision may cause. We further acknowledge the faith that Football Queensland have displayed in Wide Bay and hope to continue to work with them to deliver positive outcomes.”