BFNL ponders commission future

Joel Peterson | Bendigo Weekly | 16-Feb-2018

The Bendigo Football Netball League could break free of the AFL Victoria commission structure.

BENDIGO Football Netball League chair Carol McKinstry says the league will consider its options as it weighs up leaving the AFL Victoria regional commission structure.

It comes as the league reveals concerns about the oversight of the state’s governing body and what it perceives to be a shift in power away from league boards.

The Weekly Times reported that several leagues met in Bungaree on Sunday in a meeting called by Geelong and District Football League president Neville Whitely.

McKinstry and several BFNL representatives attended, to find out more about other leagues such as the GDFL which have not joined the commission structure and have flourished.

The structure was implemented by AFL Victoria as a result of Peter Jackson’s 2012 report into country football.

Ms McKinstry says the concerns were raised when clubs were made to sign affiliation documents with AFL Central Victoria and not the BFNL itself, and the league’s hope to run a female competition was usurped by AFL Victoria administering the leagues.

“I suppose you could call us paranoid and we have asked the commission here whether the long-term goal is to get rid of league boards, we invited (AFL Victoria CEO) Steven Reaper up to our AGM but unfortunately he couldn’t attend,” he said.

We had a number of clubs who didn’t want to sign it, and we weren’t too keen on them signing that contract.

“We had one club that really held out, and we were told by AFL Victoria that we weren’t allowed to release our fixture with that club in it.”

McKinstry said what the league had found was the league’s control on its league is lessening, including the oversight of its planned women’s competition.

The BFNL had established a female football working party and says it was planning to form a competition in coming seasons, but the administration of the league had been given to AFL Victoria as to the governance of the female leagues.

McKinstry said teams had hoped to run their women’s sides alongside their senior lineups under the one club umbrella.

The league says it will continue to explore its options with both AFL Central Victoria commission and AFL Victoria.


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