OVENS and Murray Football-Netball League chairman David Sinclair has joined a sub-committee hoping to block AFL Victoria’s plans to have all competitions across the state under its control by 2019.
The O and M is the only league in the region yet to sign up to AFL North-East Border with Mr Sinclair joined by his deputy Kim Odewahn at a meeting of leagues near Ballarat on Sunday fighting AFL Victoria’s plans for an administration takeover.
Meeting convenor Neville Whitley from the Geelong and District Football League said the sub committee’s task would be to come up with a proposal to present to AFL Victoria in coming weeks.
“No one is happy about being forced to join the regional administration centres," he said.
“We just want leagues to have a choice about either being under an administration centre or under their own administration providing they can prove they are a successfully run league.
“The feeling is very strong and we may gain more momentum from other leagues as a result of what has happened today.
“We just feel footy is being taken away from grassroots operations.”
Mr Sinclair confirmed he had joined the sub-committee made up of representatives from leagues, clubs and umpires.
“The end game is to have a choice,” he said.
“The meeting was a great learning curve for the league.
“The main issue being is leagues want to be able to make their own decisions on who administers their competitions.”
Mr Whitley said he spoke with AFL Victoria chief executive Steve Reaper on Friday, but the latter chose not to attend the meeting.
Representatives from the Murray and Picola and District leagues also attended the meeting as did the Bendigo and Mornginton Peninsula leagues which are already part of AFL Goldfields and AFL South-East respectively.
Picola and District league operations manager Shane Railton has also joined the sub-committee.
“We also want to retain our autonomy,” he said.
“When you align with the AFL it generally means for better or worse and for right or wrong reasons you are seen as a big organisation rather than a local organisation.
“Sometimes that leads to partnerships with Melbourne-based companies rather than locals.
“We just want to remain relevant to our local leagues and maintain our local brand.”