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Roosters refused VFL Licence

President John Nevett ponders the future of the North Ballarat Roosters without the AFL.

AT last Friday’s media call North Ballarat Roosters Chairman John Nevett said ‘it has been a troubling time over the last 24 hours’ after the Club received news that they weren’t going to have their VFL licence renewed. “It was shock, I was gutted, and I was really disappointed because there were a lot of people who are badly affected by the decision to take away the licence – I’m talking about the players obviously, their partners, coaches, coaching staff, support staff, statisticians, young fellas and girls that do everything for nothing, basically,” Nevett said. “We spent over 300 hours, I think, preparing the submission and presentation to AFL Victoria – an awful lot of time.”

Nevett said that AFL Victoria’s major concern was the ‘fractured’ relationship that existed between some of the Board members and AFL Victoria, from end of last year into the past two or three years. “That fractured relationship was supposedly between our Board at the time and AFL Victoria and the major stakeholders,” he said.

“We put to them a model to restructure and separate the Roosters, North Ballarat City and North Ballarat Sports Club, which would ensure the Roosters would be its own VFL entity and limit any crossover of parties that were on the Boards of those three entities. “I have asked AFL Victoria to consider reinstating North Ballarat into the VFL competition for 2018 with the condition that we would conduct a restructure of our Board and football department to meet AFL Victoria’s requirements.” After the media call the following statement was released: ‘The North Ballarat Football Club express their extreme disappointment and frustration at yesterday’s notification from AFL Victoria that they were to be excluded from the VFL Competition in 2018. The Club seeks an urgent and detailed explanation from the Board of Directors and Executive of AFL Victoria to clearly identify the key criteria that the North Ballarat Football Club had not either met or addressed with immediate plans.

The Board of Directors believes that the decision to exclude the Roosters from the VFL Competition will have a detrimental effect on Football in Ballarat and the Greater Western region of Victoria.

The Club will not speculate next steps until they have met with AFL Victoria, but will explore all options available.’

From the AFL:

The North Ballarat Roosters were a VFL powerhouse less than a decade ago, winning three straight premierships between 2008 and 2010. However the alignment ended following the 2015 season, with the Roosters subsequently falling on hard times, including finishing last in 2017. “After significant upheaval at board level in recent years at North Ballarat, AFL Victoria believes the current position the club finds itself from both a governance and on-field perspective doesn’t meet the key criteria needed for a continuation of the club’s VFL licence,” AFL Victoria chief Steven Reaper said.

“AFL Victoria needs to ensure there is a sustainable team in Ballarat, and one that is representative of the region and is fully focused on a state-league presence.”