WIMMERA Football League chief commissioner John Smith believes the league, similar to many others in country Victoria, is at a crossroads.
Mr Smith and his fellow commissioners discussed the health of the league at a meeting on Monday night.
The discussion follows Horsham Saints coach Brendan Broadbent’s call for the Horsham Demons to leave the Wimmera league to help improve the health of the competition.
Mr Smith said while the commission would not endorse Broadbent’s proposal, it was looking at ways to improve the long-term health of the competition.
“There was quite a positive debate. A lot of constructive ideas were discussed,” he said.
Mr Smith said one idea discussed was to create a stand-alone Wimmera side to play in the Bendigo or Ballarat league, as well as ways of limiting club spending.
He said a Wimmera side would add extra professionalism into the Wimmera, despite taking more players from the region.
“I don’t believe it will detract from the health of the competition. If anything it will create a new era of professionalism in the Wimmera, especially in the junior ranks,” he said.
Mr Smith said the issue of money in football was adding to the problems.
He conceded the days of playing for the love of the jumper had gone, but something needed to be done to control club spending.
“Without knowing the exact figures it is hard for me to say. I don’t want to dwell on the past but loyalty to the jumper is long gone,” he said.
“With people leaving the area for employment or education opportunities there is an increased demand for imported footballers and they cost money.”
Broadbent spoke out on the issue of money in football last season, saying the gulf between the haves and the have-nots was gaping.
Mr Smith said it was hard to police player payments, with the league scrapping a salary cap and points system in the past.
“South Australia has a points system and I think for something like that to work it would need every league to support it,” he said.
Mr Smith said the commission was keen to talk with Victorian Country Football League chief executive Steven Reaper, after the VCFL released a report into the health of country football.
“A lot of the issues facing this region are being echoed throughout the state,” he said. “The commission is keen to talk with Steven Reaper about the findings of the report and any possible action needed.”
Mr Smith said he was also keen to hear from Wimmera football players, clubs and supporters to hear their views on the health of the leagues.
He said people could email their thoughts to Western Vic Football general manager Stephen McQueen at [email protected]苏州美甲美睫培训.au.
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