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League under the scope

Local Sports

New soccer season gets underwayNew soccer season gets underwayON the eve of a new soccer season, the Fijian Soccer League has come under the scope.

The once highly talked about organization, is now being talked about how less attractive it has become in the last few years.

From a thriving 20 team league to now a struggling 12, six each in the masters and veteran 45 divisions.

This year, there are 4 less masters teams, from 10 in the previous years, and with premier division abolished all-together, the insiders, sports know how’s and former players are calling on the league to find ways to resurrect the ailing league or face the possibility of becoming a defunct body in the near future.

A well-placed source with the league said the league has been struggling to attract teams for a few years and had to make do with the 12 masters teams for the 2019 season.

“Lack of interest from teams, that is all to it”, said the source.

“The league is doing all it could to get more teams, but I guess the teams are having problems from players to the cost borne factors”.

Manoj Raj, the former Lautoka footballer though, refutes the insiders claims, says it is the lack of incentive that is killing the sport.

“It all comes down to incentives, the lack of it have the league really struggle for teams”, he said.

“The league needs to wave the team and player registration fees if they’re to get more teams. The teams should only pay for the match officials”.

Raj said the league also needs to injecting more resources, in the way of raising the payout and changing some of its tailor made rules surrounding fines and suspensions.

“I haven’t seen any progress in the last five years to say the least. From a 20-team league, ten each in the premier and masters, to a twelve team all masters league is an indication of the direction the league is headed”.

Raj said the league should reconsider renaming to Fijian Masters League added, it is in fact the master’s players that are keeping the league alive.

Ajay Kumar who was not only a player but a huge fan of sport following his retirement, feels there is nothing exciting about the league.

“I’m a passionate footballer, I will always be one, but you wouldn’t get me out on Sundays just for the masters games. Masters games are fun turned competitive in the Fijian league.

“The people who run the league need to do more than just think about holding on to powers.

“People need to understand that no one is bigger than the association, if they can't help bring about the changes they should make room for fresh faces who will raise the profile of the league".

Meanwhile, a full slate of masters and veterans 45 games are scheduled for Bear Creek and North Surrey Oval on Sunday.

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