After months of speculation, the immediate future of football and netball in the South East appears set to remain untouched for now after the SANFL’s big announcement last week.
The SANFL met with the working group last week to review the recent club survey and can confirm that a combined 16-team competition will not be established in 2023.
The survey was completed by Western Border and Mid South Eastern clubs and close to 200 responses were returned.
After analysing the results, the decision was reached after the majority of clubs believed a 16-team competition including the current WB and MSE clubs, plus Penola was not the best way forward
SANFL Head of Community Football Lisa Faraci said the survey had been a great tool to gather information and will be used along with forums, meetings and ongoing conversations about the future of football and netball in the region.
“There were many views on how best to approach potential changes and SANFL will continue to consult with leagues and clubs,” Ms Faraci said.
Ms Faraci said more than 170 survey responses were received from clubs in both the Mid South Eastern and Western Border leagues.
She said many clubs identified they were struggling and needed assistance, particularly with junior and youth player numbers, attracting and retaining volunteers and umpire retention.
“This is why SANFL will be continuing to work with key football stakeholders to investigate potential structures that will support sustainability and participation growth in the Limestone Coast region,” Ms Faraci said.
The establishment of the working group and consultation process follows a full review of the football in the region by the SANFL Limestone Coast Regional Council last year.
More reaction to the news will be included in Thursday’s paper.