Launceston's NPL Tasmania clubs have expressed concern that plans for a statewide reserve league will have a detrimental impact on the Northern Championship competition.
At present, Launceston City, Riverside Olympic and reigning champions Devonport Strikers compete in the men's statewide competition while also fielding second and third teams in the regional league.
There are fears that being expected to provide a fourth team will devalue the Northern Championship which also features Northern Rangers, Launceston United and three other North-West Coast clubs.
Riverside Olympic president Stuart McCarron is against the proposal for a state league reserves from 2022 and possible under-18s from 2024, which arose from a 2019 competitions review.
"My belief is it will kill the Northern Championship as a competitive competition because the championship teams from us, City and Devonport will be our third teams and that will devalue the whole league," he said.
"The Northern Championship has been a competitive competition for over 60 years in its format. It obviously works if you look at how successful Devonport have been with their second team in the championship so as a development competition it is really working."
City vice-president Danny Linger added: "It will devalue the Northern Championship, and I still think that is important, but we are all for providing a pathway and that might be the state league reserves."
Both Launceston clubs said there were fundamental differences between the North and South which should be factored into the equation.
"Launceston is different to Hobart, we don't have the same depth," Linger said.
It will kill the Northern Championship as a competitive competition because the championship teams from us, City and Devonport will be our third teams and that will devalue the whole league.Stuart McCarron
"For instance, last year we won the under-18s competition but players like Will Fleming, Mason Gardner, Josh Bula and James Hawes have now stepped up and we don't have the flow-on so don't have an 18s side this year.
"There is also a lot more travelling involved in the Northern Championship than there is in the Southern.
"Devonport would be doing all those kilometres to Hobart whereas Hobart sides would barely have to do any."
Both chiefs said Southern clubs rarely stage game days where an NPL fixture provides the showpiece to a day-long schedule of regional matches, as is done in conjunction with the Northern Championship.
"When you have a successful Northern Championship, why fiddle with it?" McCarron added. "This would mean our clubs fielding an extra side - two in the NPL and two Northern Championship. We could only do that by using our Sunday social side and they're not much cop. An under-18s state league will do the same thing and ruin the Northern Championship."
Clubs were also concerned about the cost implications of an additional team's statewide travel, which would come out of their annual $13,500 licence.
Further muddying the waters is the suggestion from Socceroos head coach Graeme Arnold that NPL leagues should go to a four-round comp rather than the regular three.
Due to COVID-enforced scaling down, this season has been a two-round competition with all teams playing each other home and away, doing away with gripes about an unfair home or away imbalance.
A four-round comp would have the same parity but would probably require a 30-week season of 28 league games plus two cup rounds, starting early March and running to late October.
This would effectively be the same as the 2020 season only without the COVID-enforced break.
McCarron said he thought 30 weeks was too long for players and volunteers but the idea has already been backed by his head coach.
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Alex Gaetani liked the concept of a longer season which would probably mean more midweek derbies between the Northern clubs.
He believed soccer administrators were using an AFL mindset of not being able to play more than one fixture each week.
Riverside's Windsor Park ground is set to undergo major works at the end of the season which will include new floodlights and improved fencing costing $280,000, predominantly paid for by federal government. This will enable it to stage midweek fixtures.
Prospect Park already has lights with City preferring twilight kick-offs at 4.30pm for Saturday home games.