The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) is committed to kicking of the National Soccer League this year.This was the statement made by the SIFF General Secretary, Eddie Ngava, after the SIFF Executive Committee meeting on Sunday.
Ngava outlined that the SIFF Executive has commissioned the SIFF Secretariat to work on a timeline that will see the National Soccer League start by October.
The timeline shall include the dates for the appointment of the National Soccer League board, the registration of potential participating clubs, the release of the National Soccer League regulations and the announcement of the kick of date.
"Definitely SIFF is committed to starting the NSL this year," Ngava said. "We are moving forward now because we are ready. We now have additional facilities in the provinces that can cater for the NSL."
The National Soccer League is expected to feature a maximum of 8 clubs but SIFF is saying that a minimum of 6 clubs is what they are looking at. This should include clubs from Honiara and the provinces. There are, however, important criteria that clubs must meet before they are eligible.
According to Ngava, amongst the criteria are whether:
.the club is a legally registered body under applicable laws,
.there is a formal club structure,
.there are contracts between the players and the club and whether
.the club is financially capable
Once the National Soccer League kicks off, it will replace the National Club Championship as Solomon Islands entry competition into the prestigious Oceania Football Confederation Champions League more commonly known as the O-League. However, this does not necessarily mean the end of the National Club Championship which Ngava says is a development competition and SIFF still has plans to maintain it in its annual calendar of events.
The National Soccer League is also expected to drive the development of clubs in Solomon Islands both in the capital, Honiara, and the provinces. As the highest club level competition, the National Soccer League will encourage Provincial Football Associations to establish and strengthen leagues to enable their clubs to participate.
Other Oceania countries have already started their own national soccer leagues including New Zealand, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. Local pressure for its establishment has been building up ever since Papua New Guinea organized theirs.
The concept of a National Soccer League has been around in Solomon Islands for a while but 2010 is the year in which the national football body has finally decided to move forward with its plans.
Source: Press Release, SIFF Media