IS Hamilton’s football civil war over?
The VCFL has suggested as much in its Border review preliminary recommendations report, released to clubs, leagues and umpires associations on Tuesday.
The 17-page report is now in the stakeholders officials’ hands, who have until August 15 to reply with their thoughts on the recommendations put to them.
The review panel will then meet and develop a final set of recommendations which will be released in September.
Surprisingly, the joint review between the VCFL and its South Australian counterpart, the SACFL, only made recommendations, rather than outright stating that the structure of football in south west Victoria and south east South Australia was going to change, meaning that ultimately, it is up to the various stakeholders to decide whether they make changes or stick with the current status quo.
While this may be seen as a gentle nudge in the direction that the governing bodies believe is in the best interests of football in our region, the very first recommendation states clearly what the VCFL thinks that the two Hamilton based clubs should do.
“The panel believes that in the best long term interests of the region, only one Hamilton based major league club should exist and that club should compete in the Hampden Football Netball League.
“As such the Hamilton Imperials FC and Hamilton FC should merge at their earliest opportunity and transfer to the Hampden Football Netball League (HFNL).”
However, underneath this statement it states, “If a merger was not achieved: Both clubs should determine which league they wish to compete in for season 2013 onwards, via their response to these preliminary recommendations.”
The report also made a bold statement about what it believes should be the future of the Western Border FL.
“The panel believes that the Hampden FNL should grow to further enhance its current role as the premier competition in the western districts of Victoria and its larger regional economically related region.
“This league would comprise of Victorian based teams only.”
“The panel believes that the Western Border FL would adapt to become the premier competition in south east South Australia, comprising of predominantly clubs within and surrounding Mount Gambier and its larger regional economically related region.”
Whether Hamilton soon has a single club to cheer for, or continues to be a two team town, many decisions need to be made in the very near future, none of them easy.
See Danny Warren’s full report in Thursday’s Spectator.