Interleague football is officially no more

Harrow-Balmoral's Pete Staude in 2019. Picture: RICHARD CRABTREE
Harrow-Balmoral's Pete Staude in 2019. Picture: RICHARD CRABTREE

Senior interleague football has been thrown to the scrapheap for at least one year.

An AFL Victoria statement on Thursday confirmed the statewide community championships would not run in 2020.

Its long-term future is unclear.

AFL Victoria will spend next year what the future of the competition might entail.

AFL Victoria Head of Community Football Stephen O'Donohue said in a statement the decision was based on concerns many raised over the current senior interleague format.

Concerns included the ranking system, inconsistent levels of competition, travel, increasing cost pressure, fixturing, administrative demands, impact on league fixtures and player availability.

AFL Victoria says leagues are able to consider interleague games outside the official banner next year.

Leagues who participate in interleague football next year will receive financial support from AFL Victoria.

AFL Wimmera-Mallee's Stephen McQueen said the competition in the region wasn't necessarily "done and dusted".

"There is still the possibility we can organise our own interleague competition it just won't be the scheduled program which has happened in recent years," he said.

"We've heard rumours for a couple of weeks now so we have made contingency plans.

"We will have to finalise those plans before we bring the draw out.

"The decision will come back to the board and the commission and they'll make a decision moving forward which way they intend to go."

Horsham District league's interleague coordinator Fred Mellington says the league will look for a one-off game next season.

"We are pursuing options," Mr Mellington said. "Interleague isn't finished yet. Not necessarily.

"We will be looking for someone who wants to play a game next year."

Mr Mellington said the league were hoping to play someone within a reasonable travelling distance and of a similar standard.

THE FULL STATEMENT READ AS FOLLOWS:

"In recent months AFL Victoria has taken feedback on the WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships and representative football in general. "

"All clubs and Leagues, both senior and junior, across country Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne, were given the opportunity to provide feedback on the current WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships and representative football.

"Based on the feedback from clubs and Leagues across the state, AFL Victoria will not facilitate the WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships in 2020 given many stakeholders raised the current format as a concern, telling us they believe it needs an update and changes.

"The Metropolitan Junior Championships and V/Line Cup representative programs for juniors will remain given there was very strong support for these two programs from across the state.

"The main areas of feedback around the current Championships from clubs and Leagues were based on concerns around the validity of the ranking system, inconsistent levels of competition, travel, increasing costs, and the pressure these costs place on leagues, fixturing, administrative demands on leagues, impact on League fixtures and player availability.

"While AFL Victoria won't facilitate the Championships in 2020, based on the feedback from clubs and leagues that the current program doesn't meet their needs, AFL Victoria would encourage leagues to continue a representative program in 2020 if it is relevant to their League.

"Leagues who wish to participate in representative football in 2020 are encouraged to do so and AFL Victoria will continue to financially support Leagues who wish to pursue representative programs.

"AFL Victoria will further consult clubs and Leagues around the future of the Championships and representative football during 2020."

While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.

This story Interleague football is officially no more first appeared on The Wimmera Mail-Times.