The off-field news continues

There are serious questions being asked of AFL Victoria over the future of footy and netball in the region. Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By sports editor Russell Bennett

Serious questions are being asked throughout community football and netball after the removal of the second local AFL Victoria regional commission in almost exactly a year.

The AFL Gippsland commission was unceremoniously dumped on 14 May last year, and on 8 May this year a decision was announced to “restructure football governance” in the AFL South East region, through the removal of its commission.

A letter, seen by the Gazette, sent recently by Richard Black – the head of South Eastern Victoria, who oversees both AFL Gippsland and AFL South East – said: “Effective from today (8 May), the AFL South East commission has been restructured with the majority of its former members transitioning to an advisory committee, which a Terms of Reference is being finalised with further information to follow in due course.

“This has seen changes to the commission structure, including AFL Victoria having representation on the AFL South East commission. This will allow AFL Victoria to provide greater support and investment into the region for the future.

“The advisory committee will assist the AFL South East commission by providing expert advice and guidance to football and netball decisions and issues. It will also continue to work with local leagues, presidents, and clubs to ensure that our sports are accessible to all and placed in the best position to grow and thrive”.

The AFL South East commission included chairman Roger Hampson, and commissioners Molina Asthana, Doug Bailey, Fraser Bayne, Scott Grimster, Russell Jacgung, Anita Jonceski, Paul Theobald, Ted Turner, and Peter Wakeling.

AFL South East executives, including Richard Black, were asked a series of questions by the Gazette about a week ago. These questions echoed those that are being asked right throughout the local football and netball community.

To this point, the Gazette is yet to receive an answer to the following:

  • Why was the AFL South East commission removed?
  • What makes AFL South East well-equipped enough to handle the region’s operations moving forward?
  • Is there enough of a separation of powers between both AFL South East and AFL Gippsland, and AFL Victoria – given the commissions of both has been dumped? Some are viewing AFL Victoria as the proverbial ‘judge, jury, and executioner’ when it comes to league and competition structures.
  • What does Richard Black’s role at AFL South East and AFL Gippsland actually entail? What exactly is the ‘Head of South Eastern Victoria’ role and why did it come about?
  • What is AFL South East’s plan for the South East Juniors (SEJ), given so many of its clubs are now intertwined with the Southern Football Netball League (SFNL), AFL Outer East, and even the West Gippsland Football Netball Competition (WGFNC)?
  • What will the relationship be between AFL Gippsland and AFL South East moving forward, given how massive the combined (South Eastern Victoria) area is and how many clubs are involved?
  • Could the SEJ potentially leave AFL South East?

More to come.