Media Release

South East league transfer request update

October 25, 2022

SANFL has denied a league transfer request from Casterton-Sandford Football & Netball Club to move from the Western Border Football League (WBFL) to the Mid South Eastern Football League (MSEFL).

The decision, endorsed today by the South Australian Football Commission, was based on recommendations provided by an independent Investigation Committee which reviewed the application, in accordance with SANFL Community Football Regulations.

Casterton-Sandford had applied to transfer from the WBFL to the MSEFL for season 2023 after a club members’ vote in August.

The SA Football Commission noted the in-depth and thorough consultation that has occurred with South East clubs and leagues in the past 24 months.

SANFL Executive General Manager Football, Matt Duldig, said SANFL’s decision not to approve the application from Casterton-Sandford to join the MESFL took into consideration the wide-ranging impact of football across the entire South East region.

“It was clear from the investigation the ramifications of such a move would trigger the need for a significant, and immediate, shift in the broader structure of competitions in the region,” Duldig said.

“Therefore, the transfer application could not be considered in isolation, but as a bigger picture for the future of football in the South East.

‘’Consultation has confirmed that changes are required to support sustainability and participation growth in the region.”

The investigation Committee indicated that any application for transfer under similar conditions submitted in 2023 will be accepted, with a revised 15-team competition identified as potential model.

As a result, the Independent Committee’s recommendation – endorsed by the SA Football Commission – is that work on the formation of new competition structures should commence immediately to ensure changes can be introduced for the 2024 season.

Consideration of junior models, including equity in junior player allocation to clubs, and the impact on local netball competitions were also critical as the region progresses to its proposed structure.

“It is evident change is required to ensure the future health and sustainability of football in the South East region,’’ Duldig said.

‘’The independent investigation clearly identified many clubs are struggling and need assistance with junior and teenage player numbers, attracting and retaining volunteers as well as umpire retention.

“We acknowledge this will be a significant change for the region, which is why a target to have it in place for the 2024 season is more realistic.”

SANFL will now establish a local working party, of football and netball stakeholders, to commence the process of implementing competition change.

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