AFL Wimmera-Mallee says clubs need more assistance

AFL Wimmera-Mallee representatives have started meeting with Wimmera and Horsham district league clubs surrounding the future of football and netball in the region.

The meetings are part of the future directions plan to review the state of the sports across the two leagues. 

AFL Wimmera-Mallee initially released a survey to the clubs earlier this year, asking clubs what issues they saw and where they needed help. By November all 20 clubs had responded to the survey.

AFL Wimmera-Mallee general manager Bruce Petering said they had now started to meet with club representatives in person to further review the state of football and netball. 

“We’ve met with quite a few of the clubs already,” Mr Petering said.

“It’s too early to say much about any structure of the leagues, but there are trends coming out.”

Those trends point to clubs needing more assistance in the running of their businesses. 

Mr Petering said clubs are struggling to find volunteer numbers and the majority of the workload is increasingly falling onto the clubs’ committee. 

“The general trend is it’s harder to fill positions both on and off the field. People are wanting more assistance to help run their club,” he said.

“A lot of clubs are saying it’s harder to find people to do the work, it’s harder to raise finances and there are more compliance. They require assistance, education and training in some areas.

“People are acknowledging they are running a small business and they need some assistance to help them run that business and serve their club.”

Mr Petering highlighted that an increase in regulation and compliance has turned some people away from getting more involved in the running of a club. 

“There has been an increase in compliance at all levels, whether that be national, state or from industry,” he said.

“There is a bigger regulatory system, so volunteers are looking at that and feeling they don’t want to take on a job because it’s too hard. That’s where education and training for clubs is important. We don’t want a few people doing a lot of work but spreading the load.”

Mr Petering said AFL Wimmera-Mallee has met with around two-thirds of the 20 clubs across both leagues.

“At the moment nothing is off the table. We are asking clubs to be as honest and frank as they possibly can,” he said. 

AFL Wimmera-Mallee will continue meeting with the remaining clubs in early 2018. From there, all of the information will be analysed by a working committee, with recommendations expected to be handed to the governing body mid next year.