THE Benalla Council is backing three Ovens and King League clubs facing forced amalgamation by suggesting the possibility of legal action.
The AFL North East Border Commission and league’s board has decided Tatong, Swanpool and Goorambat should form a new club.
It is foreshadowed the new club will be based at Goorambat, but games would still be played in all three centres.
This week the Benalla Council discussed the issue and resolved to express its concern about the forced merger of the football and netball clubs.
“The council will be encouraging the clubs to seek legal advice on the proposed contracts and forward it to us,” mayor Barbara Alexander said.
“We will invite representatives from the Ovens and King Football Netball League and the AFL North East Border to meet us to discuss the impact that the current proposal will have on the communities involved.
“We all know that football, netball and other sporting clubs provide an important opportunity, especially for young people, to participate in physical activity.
“This is vital for a healthy community. They also provide a structured and safe environment where young people can mix with their peers and people of other age groups.”
Cr Alexander said the council did not want young people putting up their hands to play sport being told: “There’s no room for you”.
“We also don’t want to see the opportunity for the participation of children with disabilities reduced,” Cr Alexander said.
“Communities like Swanpool, Tatong and Goorambat gather and bond around the netball court and the football field.
“The activities of the clubs foster connectedness within the community and support local businesses.
“It would be a great shame if the community’s access to sport were reduced, denying them these important benefits for health, social cohesion and the local economy.”
Cr Alexander said through a resolution passed the council wants to encourage the committed people who are fighting to continue to participate in football and netball.
“We hope that a sustainable solution can be found that does not leave any smaller community or their young people disadvantaged,” Cr Alexander said.