Kaniva-Leeor United has called on football's governing bodies to better support clubs as they navigate the ramifications of COVID-19.
Kaniva-Leeor United this week voted in favour of merging with neighbouring Wimmera Football League club Nhill for 12 months.
The Nhill and District Sporting Club, however, opted against the short-term merger, after surveying the opinions of its members.
Kaniva-Leeor United was hoping to join forces and play in the Horsham District league for one season, to avoid COVID-related border issues which could hinder its ability to participate in the Kowree-Naracoorte-Tatiara league in 2021.
Nhill president Ash Dickinson however said that the club was looking for more long-term stability.
"A majority of our members would have preferred a more permanent arrangement," he said.
"The biggest worry would have been that after 12 months, if either party opted out, the other may be left in a worse position.
"We are looking to secure a future for the next 5 years for our community, not just 12 months."
Both clubs have Annual General Meetings within the next fortnight to further explore what next season holds.
Mr Gordon said with COVID-restrictions set to ease, up to 100 people could attend the meeting to further discuss their future.
While the club explores its options, Mr Gordon said they were frustrated by the lack of guidance from governing football bodies.
He applauded AFL Wimmera-Mallee area manager Jason Muldoon for his support, but lamented the lack of direction and advice from AFL Victoria and the SA Football Commission in regards to Kaniva-Leeor's options for next season.
"It would be nice if we could have some direction from our professional football people," Mr Gordon said.
"I don't think we're going to be able to just walk back into South Australia next year, and if we can, that doesn't mean it will stay that way for a full season.
"If we get into a situation where we have to pull out, and there's no footy in Kaniva again next year, that would be a bloody travesty.
"There are people getting paid to look at this and make some decisions, but instead we have been mostly left on our own.
"It just seems strange that we're not getting more guidance."
Mr Gordon stressed that regional communities were the "heartland" of football, and the AFL had an obligation to help.
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