By Nick Creely
The AFL Outer East will move to become an independent Metropolitan league in 2022, with the league to shift away from the AFL Victoria country model moving forward.
The massive move for local football in the region will come into effect from 1 November after recommendations from the Outer East commission, with the motion passed by clubs from the recent Outer East SGM that will see the league move away from its affiliation from AFL Victoria.
AFL Outer East will be replaced by a new name, Outer East Football Netball League, with over 90 per cent of clubs endorsing and supporting the move.
The decision to move away from a Country Commission and into a metropolitan league has been based on a range of factors with a review of “governance and operational structures, it has become clear that Outer East operates under a Metropolitan Model framework”, and will move into partnership with leagues that operate under the same model as Outer East.
The move is believed to give the Outer East a greater ability to “control its own destiny”, which includes implementation of its own rules and bylaws, corporate partnerships and strategic decision making.
Another huge factor throughout the Covid-19 pandemic is the realisation that the clubs and communities that make up the Outer East – 41 out of the 45 clubs are located in Metropolitan Melbourne – so the move will recognise this fact.
The move to a Metropolitan league has been broken down to four key factors in ultimately coming to the decision, including independence, both “in governance and operationally from AFL Victoria”, improved financial and commercial freedoms outside of AFL Victoria Country, realignment with leagues and competitions that operate under the same local and government restrictions, and improving the processes for clubs to have more of a voice in league and region based decisions.
Outer East has briefed clubs on the costs by affiliating as a Metropolitan league, with the league confident it can enter into supplier arrangements that will see a reduction in costs in apparel and merchandise, as well as greater opportunity to build commercial revenue and income which will be then passed on as savings to clubs.
It has confirmed that there will be no changes to club fees and charges.
There will be no changes at the board level either, with the six members to remain unchanged, however there will be three new members added for 2022 with clubs encouraged to put forward names for consideration.
The league stated that there will be no changes to its football structure or game day operations, with the game development to remain unchanged, juniors to remain unchanged, and there will be no change to the points or salary cap system.
“The Outer East remains a League that encompasses the best aspects of Country and Metro football and netball,” the league said.
“It will remain a Football/Netball Competition, our clubs are still the same and our wonderful volunteers at our great clubs are still the same.
“The change to a ‘Metro affiliation is to assist our clubs off-field in reducing costs and greater control of the management of football and netball. There will be no change whatsoever to how our competition looks on game day.”
In regards to netball, Outer East said it was business as usual and they will continue to work with Netball Victoria.
“Outer East will remain affiliated with Netball Victoria and this move will be a positive step for netball in the region,” the league stated.
“There is no change to either Senior or Junior Netball competitions and this transition will see increased investment and focus on netball from 2022. The move to an independent metro affiliate will allow the league to strategically focus on netball”
Outer East will now work with AFL Victoria on the transition process.