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Final forum held, over to the clubs

December 5, 2023 10:14 pm in by

AFL Barwon boss Ed Wilson is prepared for clubs not supporting the local governing body’s planned restructure of football and netball.

Speaking to the media following the third forum on AFL Barwon’s vision for the future of the two sports at Buckleys tonight (Tuesday), Wilson conceded the plan, in which a three-tiered competition would be introduced, may not suit Bellarine and Geelong League clubs.

He says the clubs will be asked for a position on the proposal in the next fortnight, which AFL Barwon hopes to have in place by 2025.

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“We think it’s important, us, as AFL Barwon, to make sure that we understand the perspective and the position of every single club,” Wilson said.

“For clubs that might even come back to us now with the proposal delivered to them and they might say ‘no’, we want to be able to understand why it’s a ‘no’.

“For us, we’ve got to make sure that we support every club.

“If the divisional model comes into play, but we still have a couple of clubs that might say no, for example, how do we support them and make sure they can succeed within that model.”

Wilson concedes views on the proposal have been mixed.

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“In terms of the sentiment to date, we’ve been very pleased with the engagement that we’ve received,” he said.

“Clubs have definitely shared (the view) that this is the right thing for their club.

“But, then we’ve also had clubs who have shared the opposite with us and said that they might see different parameters (as) a part of what we’re proposing (as) a bit of a challenge.

“We still have a considerable group that sits in the neutral category, as well.

“We respect we’ve done three months of consultation. We’re now presenting the final product, and following this, we see some of these neutral-sitting clubs be able to now provide their stance as to where they see themselves fit within the model.”

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Several adjustments to the proposal put to clubs at the second forum in October were unveiled.

They include a change from a “two-up, two-down” model to only one club being promoted and relegated every three years.

The proposed salary cap figures provided until 2028 have now been projected to 2026.

Premier Division, proposed to reach $115,000 in 2026, will remain at $110,000 for 2025 and 2026.

In Division 1, $88,000 in 2025 and $92,000 is now $90,000 across both years, while Division 2’s $71,500 and $74,750 will be $75,000 and $80,000 respectively.

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AFL Barwon has also prioritised its commitment to developing the junior programs of clubs in Division 2, with its Club Development Lead working closely with those clubs.

The governing body will also commit $100,000 over three years to build infrastructure to support those clubs.

See the final proposal document here

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