That’s the stance the Black Diamond AFL holds on proposed changes to the league governance model in the area, president Wal Bembic has revealed.
AFL NSW/ACT recently announced they would move to implement a new governance and investment model for the 2019 season, and stated they were looking for expressions of interest for local governing bodies to join a working party.
While the Black Diamond AFL is “more than happy to be party to anything that will improve footy in the region” Bembic said, he stated the organisation wants “clear explanations” on how a change to the league’s model would assist the region’s growth.
Bembic outlined a number of factors the local organisation had put before AFL NSW/ACT as “key” to any partnership, including clubs retaining control of competition formats, an official statement on the increase or reduction of fees and clear guidelines on how the AFL plans to increase region participation.
Bembic also believes AFL should outline how they would contribute to staffing in the region, and how they plan to implement all changes “efficiently”.
“There was a review that was apparently run last year by the AFL, but no one has ever witnessed the results, and has only ever been quoted in parts, when it suits. We long for a bit of transparency,” he said.
“A lot of leagues around Australia have been promised a lot from the AFL, but those leagues have told me ‘we wish we’d never let them in’. We are concerned there will be change in the way footy in the Hunter is run, and not for the better.
“We would be happy if they just left us alone. The Black Diamond AFL wants to improve football in the region, but in the right way, with long-term focus.
“Actions speak louder than words, and their lack of any real plan or planned outcomes should be a concern for anyone who wants to fall in behind them.”
Bembic believes the Black Diamond AFL’s actions have spoken quite loudly in recent seasons, as the Hunter and Central Coast’s senior competition moves from “strength to strength”.
“In the last five years women’s football has grown from nothing at all to sixteen teams, and we have a social mens competition added to the ranks too, all thanks to the Black Diamond AFL clubs and board,” he said.
“We’ve never had greater numbers of men or women playing the game, and our clubs have never been healthier. Why change from a proven model of success to an unproven model with no defend or measurable outcomes.”