A conflict over Northern Rangers staying in or leaving the state’s top-flight soccer competition has led to club president Rod Fulton to walk from the position.
One of three Launceston clubs set to join an expanded NPL Tasmania next year, Rangers are yet to formally accept one of the 10 spots.
A decision could be made in the coming days after the presidents of the northern Tasmanian clubs discussed the issue on Monday night.
The club, which finished sixth out of eight sides, has expressed concerns over its playing future for months.
Best and fairest winners Pat Lanau-Atkinson, Harry Thannhauser and captain Nick Lanau-Atkinson had all confirmed before the season was over they would leave Tasmania to play elsewhere.
Fulton, who took over at the helm in March 2017, felt it was the right decision to step aside after he believed Rangers should withdrawal from the 2019 NPL season.
But others on the club’s board disagreed, he said.
The man also revered at the club for coaching the women’s Northern Championship side to back-to-back titles is now “caught between a rock and a hard place”.
Fulton also has two sons, Jesse and Alex, who are NPL regulars for Rangers.
“I can’t see a future for us in the NPL and I don’t just mean in the NPL – I mean being competitive in the NPL,” Fulton said.
“I don’t feel we have the resources: financial, players, coaches, volunteers, to be a competitive NPL club.
“If you aren’t competitive, or can’t see yourself becoming competitive, you’re in the wrong competition.
“Competitive is not an honourable sixth place.
“It is having a real chance to win the thing”.
Football Federation Tasmania has already released a provisional draw to clubs.
But one of Fulton’s biggest concerns was for a proposed 27-round season – up six rounds on past years.
He understood there are clubs in favour of the draw equivalent to the A-League’s.
New FFT chief executive Matt Bulkeley last week wrote to all 10 clubs – including newcomers Riverside Olympic after it won this year’s men’s Northern Championship – to offer a place in the 2019 NPL competition.
“We have not officially heard back from Rangers on this yet, so they are uncommitted as of this particular moment,” a FFT spokesman told The Examiner.
FFT plans to wait for a response after meeting with the clubs on Monday night.
But a Rangers’ NPL exit would not affect the league.
“Obviously, our preference is for them to be a part of it and the draft roster includes them, but that is not indicative of them committing to be a part of it. It’s just easier to take a team out of a roster, than add one in,” he said.