RPL needs to be fair, says Sergi

YOOGALI Football Club president John Sergi said the club wants to remain in the Regional Premier League (RPL) in 2013, but only if the transparency of the competition’s rules improves.

Speaking to The Area News yesterday before a crisis meeting involving all 10 RPL clubs in Cobram last night, Sergi said the ideal outcome would be that all clubs get a “fair run”.

“It’s a mixed NSW and Victoria comp, but it’s being run through Victoria and we have to put our foot down and show them we are together and that we’re not happy about it being run by them and with us without a leg to stand on,” Sergi said. 

“And this meeting will bring the comp together properly as it should be, or it won’t. 

“We just want to see the competition as a fair one instead of us being used. Things have been promised to us and then they use technicalities and we don’t want that; we want to stand up for our rights.

“We want to say to the club down there that we’re here too and we’re not going to let them run around us with tactics like this.”

RPL administrators have come under fire in the last week for failing to enforce rules designed to create a level playing field for all teams in the inaugural competition.

The original point of conjecture stems from administrative body Goulburn North East Football Association’s failure to include a by-law in its RPL Rules of Competition, outlining a league-specific transfer and new player registrations deadline.

The universal deadline of June 30 was agreed to before the season, and was a major point of concern for all Griffith sides if they were to sign on with the RPL competition.

But two Victorian clubs took advantage of the loop-hole to sign players outside of the RPL window, eliciting an appeal from Hanwood FC, that local administrators said was not even acknowledged, leading to a boycott of all but one of last weekend’s games. 

“We have talked to the other Griffith clubs and we have to stick together and make sure we get what we want out of this,” Sergi said. 

“It’s disappointing that it’s all come to this, especially now we have to catch up games that were missed last weekend. 

“I’m of the understanding that they (GNEFA) will move the season back a week, but I’d say something will be decided finally tonight (Tuesday).”

While Hanwood FC and Yoogali SC have been the most vocal about the perceived imbalanced playing field, Sergi said his club and Wests SC also want to stand up for what they believe is right.

The Area News asked Sergi, depending on the outcome of last night’s meeting, if his club wanted to stay in the RPL, with the YFC leader confirming they were not going anywhere unless events took a drastic turn for the worse.  

“The soccer and the standard of the games is very good and we want to keep it going,” he said. 

“But if it does go on next year we want to keep it fair for everybody, it’s not easy to run in the competition, there’s a lot of money and organising needed but we do want to keep going.”

Sergi said an independent board or one that featured administrators from New South Wales and Victoria was the only way to fairly govern the RPL moving forward. 

GNEFA president Frank Trimboli also denied reports league secretary Belinda Franco and treasurer Megan Carr had resigned.

UNDER PRESSURE: GNEFA president Frank Trimboli met with all 10 RPL clubs in a crisis meeting at Cobram last night to discuss the competition’s transparency.

UNDER PRESSURE: GNEFA president Frank Trimboli met with all 10 RPL clubs in a crisis meeting at Cobram last night to discuss the competition’s transparency.


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