RINGWOOD City Soccer Club has welcomed changes to provisional and metro leagues, believing they will increase competition in the Victorian state leagues.
Football Federation Victoria announced last Wednesday it will abolish the metro and provisional leagues and divide the sides in those leagues into new competitions — state league 4 and state league 5. And those two leagues will be further divided into geographic zones of north, south, east and west.
FFV believes the changes will make it easier for lower division teams to progress through the ranks, and Ringwood City director of football Tim McKenzie has echoed these thoughts.
‘‘We think the changes from the FFV are terrific,’’ he said. ‘‘It doesn’t favour the lower league clubs; it just makes it fairer for them to progress.’’
In previous years, teams would have had to present a formal application to FFV if they wished to gain promotion, regardless of their final position on the ladder.
But the dispensing of the application process and inclusion of a natural promotion-relegation system is another positive McKenzie finds among the changes.
Ringwood was in Metro League (previously the lowest level of Victorian soccer) for two seasons, and despite winning the league twice, it was not promoted because it did not meet the application criteria.
Under the new system, Ringwood will be zoned in the south division of state league 5 and will play sides such as St Kilda and Albert Park soccer clubs next year.
Despite the added travel factor due to the zoning system, McKenzie is content with the changes and the number of teams in the league expanding from 10 to 14.
‘‘Most people don’t mind the extra travel if it means better football and better competition,’’ he said. ‘‘The larger leagues I don’t mind, as long as they stick to everyone playing each other an equal amount of times.’’
In previous seasons, teams have folded prior to the start of the season, which has meant an uneven fixture for some sides, with added byes and playing teams more than twice.
For full information on the structural changes and leagues for 2013, check the Football Federation Victoria website.