AFL Victoria has responded to community concerns about the administration of football in the Wimmera, after AFL Wimmera-Mallee's general manager Bruce Petering was made redundant last week.
AFL Victoria confirmed it is undertaking a restructure across various regions, including the Wimmera.
AFL Victoria said in a statement to the Mail-Times that the restructure was undertaken in order to optimise a recent injection of funds into community football.
The AFL announced an $18 million investment into country football in September last year, with the funding to be rolled out from 2020 to 2022.
AFL Victoria's Community Football and Development Manager Stephen O'Donohue said the changes were to "ensure community football is structured and supported accordingly".
"Our aim is to optimise the recent injection of funding into the regions and implement a sustainable development model to expand and maintain and support grassroots football into the future," he said.
AFL Victoria's sweeping changes are not isolated to the Wimmera, with the governing football board in south-west Victoria also disbanded. AFL Western District oversees five competitions - Mininera and District, Hampden, Warrnambool and District, South West District and Western Victoria Female Football League.
Wimmera Football League chief commissioner Trevor Albrecht said he was not sure what to expect from the changes across Victoria, but hoped that leagues would remain informed.
"I think we'd all like a little more transparency," he said.
"If there was a future plan put out there, that would be ideal to help us prepare. And not only us, but the clubs and club people as well."
Mr Petering was manager of the Wimmera-Mallee, Sunraysia and Central Murray regions. Mr Petering said there were plans in place for a full-time manager to be based in Mildura.
Mr Albrecht said the distance Mr Petering had to cover was untenable.
"I don't think they realise how big the region that Bruce covered was," Mr Albrecht said.
"I think they thought he was going to travel 45 minutes up to Mildura and likewise to Swan Hill - but it was actually hours."
It is a 310 kilometre drive from Horsham to Mildura.
Mr Albrecht said he hoped that a new structure would maintain a Wimmera-specific administration body. He said he expected significant changes across the coming months.
"I thought it was terrific that Bruce was specific to our region," he said.
"Each league has different demographics, and he knew our situation, being born and bred from our region. That is really important.
"The next six months are going to tell a fair sort of a story. I wouldn't even hazard a guess at what that story might be, or what their plans are."
What do you think of the future of football in the region? Have your say, with a letter to the editor.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.