The wait to see if Claudelands Rovers premier women's team will return to the LottoNRFL goes on, with the Auckland Football Federation and LottoNRFL management yet to make a decision with just over a month and a half to go until the 2020 LottoNRFL season kicks off.
Last year two of Auckland's premier teams, Three Kings United and Onehunga Sports FC, made the decision to amalgamate as one club under the banner of Auckland United Football Club.
The amalgamation meant that Three Kings and Onehunga Sports FC, which both played in the LottoNRFL Premier Women's league, would form into one team, creating an empty spot in the table.
Currently the league is contested by Hamilton Wanderers, Eastern Suburbs, Forest Hill Milford, Glenfield Rovers, Western Spring, Three Kings United (Auckland United) and Onehunga Sports (Auckland United), although the last two would become one club under the amalgamation. Papakura was relegated from the league last season and replaced by Ellerslie AFC, leaving seven teams.
However, despite Auckland United recruiting for their Premier Women's team, and both Three Kings and Onehunga Sports FC telling players their senior players to register their interest for Auckland United, chief executive of the Auckland Football Federation Steven Upfold has said no decision has yet been made on the joint venture.
"NZ Football and the AFF Board are currently considering the Auckland United joint venture application with a view to having a decision in January.
The AFF Board is the sole body which will make the determination regarding the status of that entity. NRFL management has regulatory mechanisms to follow should the joint venture be approved and if it is determined playoffs are necessary to fill any vacancies."
"Any playoffs, if required, would take place during the pre-season."
The lack of a decision leaves Claudelands Rovers in the lurch, with their pre-season beginning last Monday, and coaches Jeff Sole and Tai Ballantyne unable to provide players with confirmation on what league they would be contesting.
Claudelands Rovers were the WaiBOP W-League Champions, and contested a play-off against Ellerslie for a spot in the league which they lost 4-2 over two legs.
If Claudelands were to contest a play-off, it would only leave them just under a month to recruit, register and get player's fitness up to the match standard.
If they were to be promoted on the basis that no other team wanted to contest the premier women's league, then Claudelands Rovers management would need to also arrange a reserve squad as well as a premier squad.
The NRFL management could also leave the league as seven teams.
The LottoNRFL has previously been left as a seven-team league after Papatoetoe dropped out prior to the 2017 season starting, while Norwest United dropped out prior to the 2018 season due to struggling player recruitment.
Due to how short the season would had been, the league was extended to three rounds, providing an extra home game advantage to certain teams.
Whatever decision made by the LottoNRFL, time is of the essence for Claudelands Rovers.