NORTH Queensland's hopes of fielding an Under-21's side in next season's National Youth League have been ended by the FFA but the door isn't fully closed for the future.
Football Queensland have recently been trying to convince the FFA to allow them to enter a team from the North Queensland region into the NYL next season.
FQ said they wanted to maintain a football presence in the region after the axing of North Queensland Fury.
It is understood FQ offered to fully fund the Under-21's team but Head of the A-League Lyall Gorman said consolidation rather than expansion was the FFA's priority at this stage.
"Our key objective for next season is to consolidate a sustainable model around our existing 10 Hyundai A-League clubs and the affiliated National Youth League," Gorman told the Townsville Bulletin in a statement.
But Gorman said the door wasn't fully closed on the proposal down the track, with the FFA to re-evaluate their options on a season-to-season basis.
"We will continue to contemplate such options with Football Queensland in the years ahead," Gorman said.
FQ chief executive Geoff Foster said getting the youth side up and running immediately would have been difficult and was committed to focusing on the local league for the timebeing.
"The idea has always had merit, which is why we have spent time and effort on the project, but it's a mountain too high for us to climb at this time," Foster said in the FFA's statement.
"For now Football Queensland's efforts will focus on the Hyundai Queensland State League as the critical platform in the elite player pathway for northern Queensland."
But NQ high performance unit coaching director Ken Mitchell said the decision put a huge development area of young footballers at risk.
"What the (decision) does is it opens the door to our competitors," Mitchell said. "There are young players who have the ability to play alternative sports.
"If the Cowboys came into your school and identified you, even though you're a football player, with the skills to play rugby league, why wouldn't you go to that national competition where you can walk out of your back door at home and play?"