Clubs look to break away


A DELEGATION of 10 Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football Clubs has requested that AFL South East call a Special General Meeting (SGM) of the competition after the governing body handed down a new competition structure that included South East Football Netball League (SEFNL) clubs from 2019.

Despite unanimous lack of support at two separate MPNFL club president meetings to divisional football involving SEFNL, AFL SE continued its push for divisional football within its region by handing down the new structure.

Former Edithvale-Aspendale FC president Ted Turner, longtime MPNFL Director Russell Jacgung and Frankston YCW premiership captain Paul Theobald make up part of the commission that gave the green light to the new structure. Mr Turner and Mr Theobald were at the last president’s meeting to hear first-hand the lack of support from their former clubs and league.

MPNFL president on the AFL SE commission, Bryan Payne, resigned his position effective immediately upon hearing of the commission’s direction.

The AFL SE competition review ‘proposed’ that the MPNFL would remain relatively the same in 2018 with ‘three or four’ clubs moving from Peninsula and being replaced from clubs in Nepean. The names of these competitions would become Division One and Division Two. The general theory on this has been that Sorrento, Rosebud and Frankston Bombers go to Division One and Chelsea, Karingal and Langwarrin go to Division Two.

SEFNL would remain the same in 2018.

In 2019, a three-tier structure would be implemented with a Premier Division being introduced, made-up of ‘three to four’ SENFL teams and ‘six to seven’ Peninsula teams.

Division One would be made-up of the balance of Peninsula Teams, the middle teams from SENFL and top four from MPNFL Division Two.

Division Two would be made-up of the bottom eight teams from MPNFL Division Two and the bottom three from SENFL.

The AFL SE recommendations handed down last Tuesday night prompted a working group of 10 MPNFL clubs to approach the floor and hand AFL SE General Manager John Anderson the letter requesting a SGM.

The remaining MPNFL clubs in the room were not aware that the letter was going to be presented, which did cause some red faces amongst all MPNFL Clubs.

There is a third President’s Meeting that has been called this Tuesday night to discuss their next movements further.

The objectives of the SGM were:

  • To remove the AFL South East Commission from having any role or power in relation to the governance and administration of the Mornington Peninsula Nepean Football League Inc (MPNFL).
  • Reinstate a Board as the governing body of the MPNFL.
  • Make all necessary changes to the rules of the MPNFL to reflect the removal of the South-East Commission and the reinstatement of an MPNFL board.
  • Correct clerical errors in the rules of the MPNFL.
  • Elect eligible persons to the fill the positions of the MPNFL Board.

When the MPNFL Clubs presented the SGM letter, AFL SE Chairman Roger Hampson told the delegation that he saw “no point of continuing the meeting”

Mr Hampson then went on to inform the clubs that the whole process “has been set-up by the templates of AFL Victoria”.

Mr Hampson told the clubs that the commission was mindful of the democratic rights of clubs and individuals to request these things (the SGM) but he also wanted to make it clear that “the governing body for all of us is AFL Victoria”.

“We believe we have acted in their (the clubs’) best interests,” Mr Hampson said.

Reading between the lines, Mr Hampson made it clear to all that setting up regions and enforcing divisional football within these regions, on the back of affiliation with AFL Victoria, is the clear mandate.

This “template” is a directive of AFL Victoria, regardless of the consequences and wishes of its member clubs.

AFL SE, the commission and AFL Victoria are not acting in the best interests of their football-netball clubs, they are acting in the best interests of themselves to bundle-up competitions and make life easier for themselves.

AFL Barwon and AFL Goldfields are having the same wars with their member clubs across their regions.

The inferred threats of disaffiliation do not deter the MPNFL clubs, that’s not what they are after. They are just after a competition that involves MPNFL clubs, for many reasons, including financial, historical and geographical.

To quote the man who led the charge to have Casey Cardinia Division (now SENFL) disaffiliate from the MPNFL, Kahl Heinze, (a former Narre Warren president): “It’s been said before – the answer that’s best for SENFL clubs is an en-masse move to Southern Football League to create a new premier division.

“AFL SE has ignored this completely the whole time. Nepean and Peninsula have been steadfast in their stance for three years so divisional football was never going to involve the MPNFL Leagues,” Mr Heinze wrote.

Has AFL SE really acted in the best interests of the MPNFL clubs, or have they dictated terms to get the outcome they set out to achieve 18 months ago?

First published in the Mornington News – 29 August 2017