MPNFL clubs ‘to take control’

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MORNINGTON Peninsula Nepean Football League clubs may be forced to investigate alternative administration to manage their competition after their calls for a structure not involving South East Nepean Football Netball (SENFL) clubs once again fell on AFL South East deaf ears at a meeting held last Wednesday night.

MPNFL club delegates met at Frankston Bombers last week and once again voted unanimously against any divisional structure that included South East Nepean Football Netball (SENFL) clubs.

However, AFL South East General Manager John Anderson, who asked if he could attend the meeting, once again refused to provide his views on the proposal.

What Mr Anderson was keen to push across though was his claims that a number of clubs wrote to him after the proforma letter was sent to say they supported divisional football. He would not share details of who those clubs were.

Regardless, for the second time in a month, clubs in attendance voted unanimously against the AFL South East recommendations of a three-tier divisional structure involving SENFL.

Mr Anderson was joined at the meeting by AFL South East commissioners, former Frankston YCW star Paul Theobald and former Edithvale-Aspendale president Ted Turner.

MPNFL clubs may be left with no other choice but to seek alternatives to their governance.

Meanwhile, SENFL Clubs are also feeling frustrated over the constant procrastination of the region’s governing body to make a decision, given it was supposed to hand down recommendations at the end of 2016.

Already this year, the submission period was extended, despite the MPNFL’s staunch stance, whilst a commission decision was deferred last week to 21 August.

There’s still no guarantee that a decision will be made on 21 August, despite recommendations being heard on that date by the commission.

In a landscape that currently seems shaky, one thing is for certain, SENFL clubs are becoming increasingly frustrated, their hands tied in planning for 2018.

Kahl Heinze, a former Narre Warren president and a key member in leading the Casey-Cardinia breakaway from the MPNFL, took to social media to express his frustrations.

“It’s been said before – the answer that’s best for SENFL Clubs is an en-masse move to Southern Football League to create a new premier division,” Mr Heinze wrote.

“AFL SE has ignored this completely the whole time. Nepean and Peninsula have been steadfast in their stance for three years so divisional football was never going to involve the MPNFL Leagues. “I’m sorry to say this but the AFLSE has been asleep at the wheel on this one – politics and regional

commission boundaries have proven to be more important to our governing body than the survival of clubs in the SENFL.

“Maybe it’s time for a review into the effectiveness of the AFLSE itself,” he said.

It is believed that the struggling Hampton Park is seeking a lifeline in the Southern League, leaving just eight SENFL clubs, something they are not enthusiastic about with fees split between fewer clubs putting additional financial pressure on the clubs.

A number of SENFL Clubs, including Pakenham, Cranbourne and Beaconsfield, released statements last week supporting AFL South East’s stance on a divisional structure involving MPNFL clubs.

The alternatives being flagged by the SENFL Clubs are to join a neighbouring league en-masse or going it alone to seek new homes which would fracture and eventually break the SENFL competition.

SENFL clubs are clearly understanding and supportive of the MPNFL clubs’ plight, although they are rightly and understandably seeking the best interests of themselves and the future of their own competition.

The MPNFL clubs are doing the same thing and it doesn’t involve SENFL.

So, is a decision made based on the best interests of eight or nine clubs who generally admit geographically it doesn’t make sense or do MPNFL clubs get listened to?

If AFL South East’s stance on Wednesday night is any indication, then divisional football will be introduced regardless of the unanimous thoughts of its member clubs.

With that, the clubs just may feel they have little choice but to seek alternative administration.

First published in the Mornington News – 15 August 2017

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