Sport

League and clubs vote to deny Ardmona affiliation for next season

By Aydin Payne

Ardmona Football Netball Club has been denied affiliation in Kyabram District League next season after a vote was held to decide the club's immediate future.

All 15 member clubs of the league (including Ardmona) were invited to a general meeting on Tuesday night to decide the future affiliation of the Cats.

Despite Ardmona presenting its case, the league executive and clubs voted in favour of suspending the membership of the Bush Cats for next season.

The decision comes off Ardmona's recent struggles, in which it had an outstanding debt owed to the league in the range of $15,000 to $20,000.

The money the club owes is related to league affiliation fees, umpiring fees, trainers fees and other unpaid costs.

In a final bid to pay off its debt, a GoFundMe page was organised by Ardmona's treasurer Teisha McCoy.

So far the crowd funding page has raised $10,800 since it was created less than two weeks ago.

But despite their last-ditch efforts to raise funds, the Bush Cats are now without membership for next season.

League president Fraser Kerrins revealed how the decision came to be on Tuesday evening.

"All 15 clubs including Ardmona were present at the meeting," Kerrins said.

"Ardmona presented their case on how they think they could repay their debts and how they could make next season work in regard to players and volunteers."

After Ardmona put forward its case to remain in the league next season, a vote was held to decide the club's fate.

"Due to league by-laws on the financial status of member clubs in the league, Ardmona was ineligible to vote," Kerrins said.

"There was one vote against the decision to suspend their membership for next season."

And under league rules, Ardmona cannot apply to enter another league until its financial plight with the league has been paid off.

Due to Ardmona's financial status, Kerrins said any bid to join a neighbouring league "would be blocked".

With Ardmona's immediate future now known, the Bush Cats will now turn to paying off their debts and focus on the opportunity to return to the playing field in 2021.

"The process now for Ardmona is that they work with the league and AFLGM (AFL Goulburn Murray) to become a viable club," Kerrins said.

"We will look to set some goals in place and help them achieve those goals.

"And if all goes well, then next year it would be taken to another vote between the clubs and board on reinstating Ardmona in the league.

"We have tried to help Ardmona for the past 12-18 months, we've been having constant meetings with them.

"It's really disappointing to see the negative commentary on social media directed at the league, we have tried to help out for a long time."

With the ever-changing landscape of country football and netball, Kerrins reiterated the decision had the best interests of the long-term future of the league and its members at heart.

"This decision has been made for the long-term stability and financial stability of the league and its clubs," he said.

"The league has been covering Ardmona's costs which has then impacted the rest of the competition.

"At the moment, none of our clubs can receive a rebate, as money made then covers the fees that Ardmona has yet to pay.

"It was about assuring the long-term financial stability of our clubs and league."