MPNFL clubs should be moving as quickly as possible to take control of their own destiny, according to the man who led the charge for Casey Cardinia Football League to defect from the MPNFL two years ago.
Narre Warren Football Club president and South East Football Netball League board member, Kahl Heinze, said if clubs wanted a future and to remain relevant in local football in their community, they needed to take action and break ties with the MPNFL immediately.
Heinze said the management of the league from a board and administration perspective was “blatantly incompetent”.
“These guys that run the league, seriously, are incompetent,” Heinze said.
“It’s astounding (to hear what’s going on the with the Player Points System debacle) but to be honest, it doesn’t surprise me in the slightest.
“They (the board and administration) are simply there for self-preservation. They are there so they can swan around in their league shirts and get paid to do so.
“What I’m continuing to hear about the management of the MPNFL solidifies that what we have done is the best thing we could have done for the future of our game.
“It was clear to us, as Casey Cardinia clubs, that as a service provider, the league just wasn’t giving us value for money. In fact, they were costing us enormous amounts of money – money clubs can’t afford to be losing.
“The MPNFL’s sole responsibility is to service the clubs and provide us with a strategic direction – we never did receive either of them, ever.
“Their responsibility is not to ignore clubs and simply hand out $50 fines for a player wearing black shorts instead of white shorts,” Heinze said.
South East Football Netball League is on track to show an operating surplus of between $50,000 to $100,000 in its first year.
“That’s a $150,000 to $200,000 turnaround for us.
“That’s more money, on the back of the clubs receiving better service and resources than they have ever experienced before. Every senior game is video recorded and provided immediately to the clubs after the game on USB.
We have negotiated far better deals across a number of areas that have added enormous value,” Heinze said.
“With the MPNFL we had no focus, no direction, no strategic plan for the future, no growth plan, no financial projections, no sponsorship plan – there was nothing.
“When we asked the questions regarding these fundamentals and even went down the path of audits, we were shut down.
“As a group of Casey Cardinia League presidents, we’d had enough.
“AFL South East provided us with an opportunity that we had never had in the past – some independent advice and a resource that we were able to work with.
“We’d never really had that in the past and after meeting with AFL South East General Manager Jeremy Bourke, who provided us with our options, it became a very obvious decision for us.
“Twelve months later and we have a wonderful board made up of experts in their field – legal, finance, community leaders, and football people.
“Together we are working on strategic plans. We are working with external consultants provided by AFL South East to ensure we are best practice in our planning and decision making.
“Our sole motivation is benefit to the clubs.
“The MPNFL are simply worried about their own backyard – surviving and keeping their jobs.
“Every decision we make is focused on the clubs – financial, growth, sustainability,” Heinze said.
There is little question that MPNFL clubs have concerns about how their league will be managed if they choose to make a move.
Of the 80 senior leagues in Victoria, 75 of them are being regionally run with the support of the AFL. The MPNFL is one of the five that is independent.
Heinze said his league was “living, breathing proof of the benefits that come with being regionally managed”.
“The MPNFL tried to scare and worry us and try and highlight that we couldn’t do without them. They even kept information from us about the AFL that would have been of enormous benefit for us to know about and understand.
“The AFL South East relationship has been nothing less than harmonious. They add to our value. It reduces our costs, our risks and provides best practice. We don’t have cash tied up into their losses.
“Like any president or secretary, I spend around 40 hours working for my club each week. I can tell you straight up, I am giving less time now, not more.
“I was really busy with helping to set up the new league from November to January but I have a lot more time now.
“I get asked all the time ‘how do you cope?’ – I say ‘better than I ever did before’.
“It’s amazing to have a full and part-time administrator that actually runs the league.
“There has been zero impact on the clubs – absolutely zero.
“Finally, we are in charge of our own destiny. The hard work we are doing at club level is not being wasted or falling on deaf ears.
“For the MPNFL, the clubs are a thorn in their side. They don’t want to know about them or their issues. They simply want their money to keep them all in jobs.
“The management of the league should be transparent – not ruling with an iron fist.
“We are providing direction, pathways, viability and sustainability – that’s all a club wants from their league.
“My advice to the MPNFL Clubs is to refuse to put up with the now. Get together independently, talk to AFL South East and move immediately to a regional structure.
“Like us, they’ll never look back,” Heinze said.