Hume City FC President Steve Kaya has split ranks with rival NPL clubs fighting Football Victoria's return to match action – and questioned the agenda of the rebel clubs opposing it.
On Saturday, Hume announced on their Facebook page that their seniors would be returning to the training track on Wednesday, May 20 - the first club in the Victorian top-flight to do so.
The club, which reached the quarterfinals of the FFA Cup and won the Dockerty Cup in 2019, was undefeated and top of the table at the time of NPL Victoria’s suspension.
Head Coach Nick Hegarty’s side was looming as serious challengers for what would be the club’s first-ever top-flight crown.
It is understood that Hume is one of four NPLVIC sides actively seeking the competition’s return in 2020, although Kaya is the first club official to publicly support it.
Clubs met with FV for talks on the season restart last Thursday but Association of Australian Football Clubs Chairman Nick Galatas told FTBL beforehand: “It's the united position of our members that the resumption and conclusion of the 2020 senior men's NPL competition isn't financially viable”.
“To take place,” he continued, “it will at least need some level of assistance from FV or the FFA, including measures which will alleviate the financial and compliance burden on our clubs.
"While it's in the DNA of our clubs to get out on the pitch, their feeling at the moment is it's looking too difficult this year.”
Insiders say little progress was made towards an agreement on resuming the season at the meeting, with clubs and the federation in dispute over fees and financial support, which is frustrating Kaya.
“First of all, we’re a football club and we should be playing football whenever is possible,” Kaya told FTBL. “We’re a football club, why should we refuse to play football? So, our decision is, of course, you want to play.
“What upsets me is that everyone has their own agendas, the place is full of politics and there are no straight shooters.
“Nobody has done any homework to be able to say that ‘we are not able to play; due to this pandemic we can’t play because we have been hurt financially and playing behind closed doors there is no gate so we can’t afford to play.’