U/15 football - Wide Bay Buccaneers V Souths United. Alex Barazza (Wide Bay) stretches to maintain possession.
U/15 football - Wide Bay Buccaneers V Souths United. Alex Barazza (Wide Bay) stretches to maintain possession.

Buccaneers shipwrecked: Wide Bay to lose premier league licence after 2020

FOOTBALL: The Wide Bay Buccaneers' future in the senior state football competition will be officially over at the end of this year.

And an uncertain future ­remains for the juniors involved in the team.

Football Queensland has announced that the Buccaneers' licence in the Football Queensland Premier League will end at the end of this year.

It follows a meeting between Football Queensland and Football Queensland Wide Bay into the future of funding for juniors and the pathway for juniors to reach a higher level as part of the governing bodies' review into juniors.

A Football Queensland statement said the review "highlighted concerns around the junior development model in Wide Bay, which currently offers limited opportunities for young players as well as no tangible pathway for girls".

To solve this Football Queensland will hire a technical director to work with the current community clubs in Wide Bay and to immediately start a talent support program to help girls get into the game.

"The new junior development model provides consistency across the talent pathway on both a state and national level, while delivering new ­opportunities for girls and ­addressing the needs of the broader Wide Bay football community," the FQ statement said.

FQ will continue to work with FQWB and community clubs to address regional challenges and build a model that provides a sustainable player pathway for junior development and talent ID within the region.'

The decision means that the Wide Bay Buccaneers will play in juniors in the National Premier League in under-12, under-13, under-14 and under-16 this year before a new program begins.

The seniors will play in the under-18s in the Football Queensland Premier League.

It is unclear if the Wide Bay will continue to play in the ­Nationals Premier League in 2021 or if another team will be formed.

No one from Football Queensland Wide Bay or Football Queensland would respond to the request to answer.

Football Queensland Wide Bay chairman Paul Brown ­advised that Football Queensland's visit highlighted why the decision was made.

"It was informative and covered key areas that we were falling short in relation to our NPL licence," he said.

He said that Football Queensland presented the talent support program, Football Federation Australia's app­roved national pathway and demonstrated its clear suc­cesses as the recognised junior development model for reg­ional areas across Australia.

"The model currently operates in communities including Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone," he said.

Brown admitted to having mixed emotions about the ­decision.

He said that Football Queensland had guaranteed to work with Football Queensland Wide Bay and the other clubs to build a model that ­addressed the regional ­challenges facing the region and provide a sustainable pathway for junior talent identification.

Football Queensland Wide Bay Zone administrator Ash Bratton would not comment as an employee of Football Queensland.

However, he was prepared to make comments as the Buccaneers' under-12 and under-16 coach.

"As a coach I am disappointed about the decision but understand there is a new pathway Football Queensland will present," he said.

"I am looking forward to seeing that."

Bratton said it was hard to accept the decision after the hard work that a lot of people and players had put in over the past three years.

"Unfortunately it is what it is and we must move on," he said.

The Wide Bay Buccaneers in a post on their Facebook page were more scathing.

The post, written by Buccaneers technical director Dale Paxton, said it was a sad day for the region.

"Today was a dark day for our club; today was a dark day for our zone," Paxton said in the post.

"We were lied to and undermined by one or two (people) in the zone and higher above.

"We weren't consulted on anything and decisions made were not in the best interests of anyone involved in the Buccs.

"The rug was pulled from underneath us.

"We had made massive ­inroads with many local clubs in the past 12 months, working of ways to coexist and work ­together.

"We will wear our uniforms with pride in 2020, represent the zone in a manner that is ­befitting to all that have done so before."

The Chronicle tried to contact Football Queensland and Dale Paxton for more comment but both were unavailable.

A meeting is scheduled for Football Queensland to meet with families from the Wide Bay Buccaneers and community clubs on Saturday January 25 to discuss the decision