Soccer: Canberra NPL clubs unite to voice concerns about Canberra United Academy
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Soccer: Canberra NPL clubs unite to voice concerns about Canberra United Academy

Canberra's eight NPL clubs have voiced their concerns about Capital Football's Canberra United Academy and proposals for a Canberra National Youth League team to be operated under a "user pay" system.

Representatives of the eight clubs released a joint statement to The Canberra Times on Thursday in response to news the Canberra United Academy had been given the green light for next year.

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The club statement said that high-performance players under the age of 12 would return to their respective NPL clubs, while those aged above 12 would be dual registered with Capital Football and their club.

"This will allow players to return to their club at any time should they so desire," the statement said.

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"This structure will only apply until October, 2016, with a full transition in 2017 that will see all high-performance players in Capital Football programs return to their NPL clubs.

"It was also agreed that Capital Football would develop a detailed implementation plan with key milestone dates for a full transition by no later than October, 2016."

Representatives of the eight NPL clubs met with the board of Capital Football four months ago to discuss concerns raised by the clubs regarding the management of the NPL competition.

The clubs then met with Capital Football chairman Mark O'Neill, Capital Football director Mike Shanahan, FFA technical director Eric Abrams and FFA head of national performance Luke Casserly on December 3 to discuss high-performance pathways.

An agreement was finally reached after a meeting on Monday night.

"Mr O'Neill and Mr Shanahan also gave the clubs a guarantee that should the board working with the clubs fail to produce a competition structure to the satisfaction of the clubs by October, 2016, then the competition structure as submitted by the NPL clubs to Capital Football and Football Federation of Australia shall default into being the policy of the board of Capital Football and be fully implemented," the statement said.

"This model includes elite players returning to their NPL clubs to train and play and also provides extra training and playing opportunities in a Capital Football high-performance program.

"It was also agreed contrary to recent announcements that the launch of Canberra United as an academy would not occur or be approved by the board of Capital Football.

"It was also agreed that Capital Football high-performance playing squads would continue as previous years and the academy notion would be a part of discussions for 2016."

The clubs also claim Capital Football has yet to show how it would fund a National Youth League team.

"The NPL clubs have asked Capital Football on a number of occasions to submit a financial model to demonstrate its viability," the statement read.

"To date their only response is that it will be a user pay system, which is inconsistent with the Whole of Football Plan.

"The NPL clubs do not want a National Youth League team to become yet another financial burden to our members or the parents of the National Youth League players."