Claudelands director of football Mark Cossey is urging Auckland Football Federation, and LottoNRFL to support Claudelands' returning to the Northern League to provide more options for women players in the Waikato region, if the Auckland United amalgamation is signed off.

That decision is still on hold, despite the club being told they would have a decision today.

With the amalgamation of Onehunga Sports and Three Kings United still waiting for on a sign-off, Claudelands Rovers are still unable to inform the 40-plus players trialling at the club what league they will be competing in, a decision that may affect additional recruitment.

The women's team is spearheaded by Jeff Sole, assisted by Tai Ballantyne, with both unable to provide players with a clear answer on what league they will be playing in each week, however Sole said whatever league the players play in, the focus will be on providing them an environment in which they can develop, and enjoy the game.

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Claudelands were the losers in the northern league play-off against Ellerslie last year after topping the WaiBOP W-League, however due to the amalgamation, the WaiBOP football federation has asked the LottoNRFL for Claudelands to fill the eighth vacant spot if the amalgamation is signed off.

Mark Cossey said he was confused about why the decision kept being pushed back, and concerned at the communication breakdown.

WaiBOP CEO Karyn Walters said the federation supports Claudelands bid to return to the Northern League, but there is no guarantee the spot would be filled. Photo / File
WaiBOP CEO Karyn Walters said the federation supports Claudelands bid to return to the Northern League, but there is no guarantee the spot would be filled. Photo / File

"We were told by WaiBOP that a decision would be made today and that it sounded really positive, and now we are being told next week. The league starts in just over a month and we still can't tell the players what league they are competing in," Cossey said.

"This is about offering women in the Waikato region another top team to develop at. As of right now Hamilton Wanderers are the only team who can offer Waikato players northern league football. They are doing a great job for the region under Stephen Cox, but they can also only field a certain amount of players each game, leaving some to miss out."

"We want to develop strong players in the region. Claudelands is known as a club that has had a strong emphasis on women's football in the past, but at the same time we are getting caught up in the politics of football. I just feel for the ladies who are wanting to develop their game and want to play football at a high level.

Hamilton News has contacted the Auckland Football Federation on numerous occasions, with the AFF's chief executive officer Steven Upfold saying that the deadline for a decision today was misinformation, and that a decision would be made early next week.

Claudelands Rovers may still yet return to the Northern League next season. Photo / Warren Jones
Claudelands Rovers may still yet return to the Northern League next season. Photo / Warren Jones

WaiBOP Football Federation chief executive Karyn Walters refused to comment on the process and the time line regarding the amalgamation, saying only that the federation supports Claudelands taking up the eighth position if it was available, but there is no guarantees that they will fill the spot.

That means the league could also be reduced to seven teams for the 2020 season, a decision which Cossey is non-beneficial to women's football.

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"You are trying to give these players as much playing time as possible, and against a range of different oppositions. With seven teams you either have a short league or you have three rounds but it just doesn't work."