BATHURST ‘75 life member and current treasurer Mark Comerford has categorically ruled out any state level or Western Premier League participation from the club next season but confirmed the local side of things will remain unchanged.
This comes after it was revealed this week the Bathurst club would have no state-level presence in 2013 after a proposed joint venture with Western NSW Football had fallen through following a restructure by Football NSW.
Up until now, ‘75 had fielded first grade and reserve grade teams in a Sydney-based competition known as State League division two.
The re-structuring for next year resulted in a new Elite Division forming, for two divisions of 12 teams, beneath which would be two more ‘intermediate’ leagues.
The requirements for entry to the Premier Leagues mean that clubs now have to field sides through age groups ranging from under 12s through to opens, something Bathurst ‘75 couldn’t meet.
Echoing vice-president Karen Tuynman’s concerns that some associates of the club might be under the impression that ‘75 were no more, Comerford was quick to put that idea to bed.
“In local junior and senior football we will continue as we have done and there won’t be any changes there,” he said.
“[Former ‘75 president] Bruce Rooke said that we didn’t have an interest in returning to Western Premier League because the standard isn’t all that high but that isn’t really for him to say.
“I do know that in terms of numbers, it is a weaker competition than it used to be, they are down to five sides now but in saying that the likes of Waratahs and Dubbo FC are both probably very strong sides.
“It is definitely an option for us in the future if the interest is there and the people involved think it is the right way to go.”
Comerford was the last man in charge of a ‘75 WPL team back in 2008, and at that point the club were fielding firsts and reserves teams in WPL and State League.
In 2013 there will be no teams from the club playing at a higher level than the Bathurst District Football Association.
One thing Comerford did point to that could stifle plans to return to elite level competitions in the future is cost.
Travel has been one obvious issue for the Bathurst teams in the past and registration is something which seems to be constantly rising in terms of price.
“It is very expensive to field sides in the higher competitions and that’s something that needs to be considered as well,” he said.
“But we will not blanketly rule anything out for the future, we just need to make sure that a lot of thought goes into what we decide to do if the opportunity comes up to enter those sorts of competitions.
“I’ve been with the club a long time, I’m a life member and I don’t want to see the ‘75 name disappear from higher level football and I’ve heard that Western NSW Football FC are considering trying to incorporate it somewhere.
“At the end of the day though they aren’t obliged to, they are a Western team not a Bathurst one.”