Capital Football has delayed any decision to restructure its National Premier League men's competition for at least another fortnight as it explores the feasibility of anything from six to 10 teams.
Despite speculation that several clubs are under pressure to lose their spots in the top-tier league, Capital Football chief executive Heather Reid said no final decisions had been made on the competition structure for 2015-17 .
Instead, Capital Football has pushed back its initial deadline of September 25 to October 10, giving all applicants the opportunity to provide updated information at their discretion. Applications closed in early August and Capital Football wants to gauge if clubs have made any progress since.
"No decisions have been made, we just want to clarify a few things, particularly in relation to the appointment of coaches and technical directors," Reid said.
"We also need to look at the sustainability of the competition, given clubs need to be able to drill down and provide teams from an under-12 level up. We need to work out whether a nine or 10-team competition is sustainable ... there's also the potential of providing one-year provisional licences, which the board needs to discuss."
The only certainly at this stage is that the FFA Centre of Excellence will continue participating in the competition. But Reid said there was no plan for Canberra representative team, Youth United, to enter the Premier League.
Gungahlin United was the only new applicant for promotion in addition to the existing nine-team competition, although Woden Valley has merged with Weston Molonglo in a joint-venture bid.
It is understood Gungahlin is in a strong position for promotion, given its enormous junior base, and it would be the first Premier League team from the expanding region.
But Gungahlin's application has put pressure on Canberra City to maintain its place, given Gungahlin previously had a deal with Canberra City to provide its junior base.
All Premier League teams must be able to provide junior squads from under 12s to under 18s. Canberra City coach Nick Palagyi said the club was proposing to establish its own junior base instead of aligning with another club.
"We haven't got a link with anybody in a formal capacity yet but what we're proposing to do is to establish our own junior base, which we think will be very achievable given the proximity to the centre of Canberra and the number of junior players in the northside region," Palagyi said.
Cooma, who won the league championship this season, was another club struggling to meet junior criteria. But Cooma president Harry Hovasapian was confident in the club's junior numbers.
"That's not an issue," Hovasapian said. "We're just waiting which is the same position every other club would be in."
It looks as though the Women's Premier League competition will progress with eight teams.