YALLOURN-YALLOURN North Football-Netball Club will apply to join the North Gippsland Football-Netball League after successfully appealing to AFL Victoria.
The appeal verdict last week ended the Bombers’ 85-year association with the Mid Gippsland FNL .
The Bombers’ plan to leave the MGFNL was set in motion in September after members voted to seek affiliation with the neighbouring North Gippsland league, but the move was blocked by the MGFNL clubs, which voted to reject the transfer application last month.
The club appealed the decision with AFL Victoria and was granted permission to leave the league at a panel hearing on Wednesday night.
The appeal panel, chaired by AFL Gippsland area manager Don Harley alongside Steve Butler, Paul Lecher and Bobbie-Lee Blay, “found unanimously in favour of the YYNFNC for a transfer to the NGFNL ahead of the 2021 competition season”.
In its rationale the panel declared the Bombers’ appeal was “comprehensive and compelling”.
“The detail relating to the member voting process, the effects of extensive travel, the level of financial support and a cultural alignment to the NGFNL (were) considered to be highly persuasive,” it said.
“The appeals panel could not be reasonably satisfied from the MGFNL that the submissions from YYNFNC ought to be dismissed, disregarded, or overturned.”
The panel also found the geography of YYN had a “more natural alignment with the NGFNL”.
“It could not be demonstrated that a move to the NGFNL would have any adverse effects on the ability of YYNFNC to recruit and retain players nor on the club’s ability to continue to develop their junior program,” it said.
The Bombers, taking to Facebook to announce the news on Thursday, said they were “delighted” with the decision “after what has been a very long process”.
“This decision clearly demonstrates that community connected football/netball is still alive and well in Gippsland,” they said.
“You our members and supporters have been the driving force of this change, our executive and wider committees commitment to consultation has been the catalyst throughout the process.
“The YYNFNC are now looking forward to further discussion with the NGFNL and submission of our formal application as soon as practicable (and after a few quite (sic) celebration drinks tonight).”
YYN now needs to be accepted by the majority of NGFNL clubs to confirm the chance of leagues.