FRANKSTON Pines’ immediate future is on the line with the local club scrambling to avoid being booted out of State League by Football Victoria.
That’s the bleak prospect facing the men from Monterey if they can’t pay a large percentage of a five-figure debt owed to FV by the end of this month.
Last week the state federation announced that many clubs “failed to meet their financial obligations in 2023, resulting in a historic level of debt … nearing $2 million.”
It then delivered the bombshell news that “clubs unable or unwilling to meet their financial obligations will be regarded as ineligible to participate in the 2024 season.”
That caught Pines off-guard as they expected that their previous repayment plan would remain in place.
FV also published a list of “financially compliant” clubs and Pines was a notable absentee.
Now it is forced to convince sponsors already signed up for next season to bring forward their payments in order to make the 30 November deadline.
“The issue for us is not the amount it’s the timing,” Pines president Lee Davies said.
“We put a payment plan to them (FV) then heard nothing from them for four weeks then out of the blue we were told that because there were so many clubs involved they’d decided that we had until the end of November to come up with a percentage (of money owed).
“Sponsors have said they’d pay at a certain time but the plan didn’t involve them paying before the end of November so now we’ve got to run around and convince sponsors who were working to a January timeline to bring it forward.
“And we haven’t been given a choice.
“FV have told clubs that if they don’t make that first payment they won’t be playing.”
Last week’s announcement by FV acknowledged the hardship faced by clubs and that its hardline approach could force them to close but it affirmed its intention to implement its policy switch.
“While it is expected most clubs will be able to rectify their debts ahead of season 2024, FV recognizes that some clubs are not financially sustainable,” the announcement said.
“This may result in mergers, acquisitions or closures – which although challenging – would ultimately lead to stronger and more sustainable clubs who can offer a better football experience for their members and the community they serve.”
That view was challenged by Labor Member for Pascoe Vale, Anthony Cianflone, who launched a scathing attack in state parliament last week questioning the role, governance and culture of FV and listing a number of club concerns at the actions of the federation.
“These include at least seven different CEOs heading up Football Victoria in the last seven years; FV failing to hold an annual general meeting for almost 18 months; FV not making an annual report publicly available on its website since 2019; FV failing to progress long overdue constitutional and governance reforms, including the implementation of the one club, one vote principle; FV continuing to charge local clubs and families some of the highest fees of any sporting code in return for what many consider to be diminishing support for local clubs; FV failing to clarify its current financial position with its most recent publicly available 2021 financial report citing FV had generated a surplus of $2.1 million; and FV having failed to contribute even one dollar towards the construction of any local football facility upgrades and not even one dollar towards the construction of the Home of the Matildas at La Trobe University,” Mr Cianflone said.
Peninsula Strikers are one of FV’s financially compliant clubs and have been operating under a payment arrangement for some time.
“I put a payment plan in place early this year to help with cashflow but it concerns me how much FV are charging clubs for player registration and team entry fees every year,” club president Adrian Scialpi said.
“Compared to NSW our ‘rego’ fees for State League players is more than double.
“Just to register my senior and reserves teams last year cost in excess of $17,000.
“The big issue is the cost of football in Victoria and more and more clubs will find it harder to survive if costs continue to rise.
“With player and team registrations, ground tenancy and player uniforms it costs nearly $40,000 before we even start the season.”
In State 5 news Seaford United recently elected Karyn Pert as president replacing long-serving Willie Lynn who stepped down from the role.
Pert is now the only female president among the 14 FV senior clubs throughout the peninsula.
Her involvement with Seaford dates back to the 1990s and she already has served on the committee in various roles while also playing for the women’s team.
When she retired from playing she took up coaching and guided the club’s under-12 girls team to a fourth-placed finish this year.
“Basically we want to continue as a grassroots club and we’re not really aiming at being an NPL club but I’d like to have more junior teams and a clear pathway for them into the seniors,” Pert said.
“I’m hoping we’ll have an under-16 boys team next year and under-15 girls and maybe under-18s for both.
“As for the seniors I haven’t had a chat with the coaches yet but that will come in the next week or so.
“I want to make that we’re on the same page and we’re aiming for promotion next season.”
In NPL2 news Langwarrin has announced its pre-Christmas practice-match schedule:
It starts with an away clash against Manningham United Blues at Petty’s Reserve on Friday 1 December at 7.15pm.
Other games are:
- v Green Gully, Green Gully Reserve, Saturday 9 December, 11am;
- v Brunswick Juventus, Lawton Park, Saturday 16 December, 4.30pm & 7pm;
- v Nunawading City, Lawton Park, Thursday 21 December, 7.30pm.