15 Mar 2017

Sport: Fiji Football to launch pro domestic league by 2020

2:30 pm on 15 March 2017

Fiji Football is planning to launch a fully professional domestic league by 2020, in an effort to uncover the next Roy Krishna.

Newly-appointed CEO Mohammed Yusuf, who replaced the retiring Bob Kumar at the start of this month, said the league would initially run in addition to the current Vodafone Premier League, but the intention is it will eventually take over and become the Fiji's main domestic football competition.

"Trying to encourage the business houses here, the business community, to buy into these at least six franchises, similar to the [Australia] A-League," he said.

"Then we run fully televised matches for about about a 14 weeks, 15 week programme and then come up with a winner."

Fiji's Rewa FC line-up before an OFC Champions League match.

Fiji's Rewa FC line-up before an OFC Champions League match. Photo: OFC via Massimo Colombini

"For that league, the business house will own the franchise. They will buy the rights to have their naming rights and they will then run this team and pay the players," Yusuf said.

"They can make money by gate-takings and merchandising and of course television."

The Ba team pose before an OFC Champions League clash.

Ba is one of the teams tipped to take part in a fully professional domestic league. Photo: Alain Vartane

Mohammed Yusuf said the plan is to base teams in Ba, Lautoka, Nadi, Suva, Rewa and one team further north, with plans to expand to eight or ten teams in future years.

Fiji captain Roy Krishna is his country's chief scoring threat.

Fiji Football want to develop more Roy Krishnas. Photo: OFC via Phototek

He said a professional competition would enable local players to take their game to the next level.

"This is the way we will have more Roy Krishna's and players will be valued and they will earn a living and they will commit full-time for football," he said.

"At the moment Fiji players do work outside: in the afternoon come in and train and play top-level club football.

"It's taking a toll on them and when we do create this professional or semi-professional league these players will virtually be playing football full-time and we then anticipate that they will upskill themselves and play top-level football."

Mohammed Yusuf said a professional league would also ensure Fijian teams are more competitive in the OFC Champions League competition, which has been won by New Zealand's Auckland City for the past six years.

Phoenix striker Roy Krishna

Fiji captain Roy Krishna plays professionally at the Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Photosport