WDFNL netball chairperson Mel Harrop quits amid conflict of interest claims

WARRNAMBOOL and District Football Netball League (WDFNL) officials are hunting for a new netball chairperson just 44 days before the start of the season.

League president Ken McSween yesterday confirmed the independent executive had accepted netball chairwoman Mel Harrop’s resignation at a meeting on Wednesday night.

Harrop, a member of the executive who also chaired the league’s netball sub-committee, made the sudden decision last week after allegations of a perceived conflict of interest were raised by some clubs.

Harrop, who held the positions for two years, was appointed coach of Allansford’s A grade and A reserve sides in December.

At the time she told The Standard coaching and administrative roles could be kept separate and she would stand aside from being involved in any issues where a conflict of interest could be perceived.

It is understood the WDFNL had decided to monitor the situation.

Under the league’s constitution, independent executive members are not permitted to hold any committee roles with clubs, but there is no reference to coaching positions.

Harrop yesterday said she was looking forward to the season ahead with Allansford.

“It was a difficult decision to make,” she said.

“While I have the energy to be involved at coaching level, I want to use that energy.”

McSween yesterday said “concerns” had been raised about a perceived conflict of interest.

He said the league wanted to fill the position as soon as it could. But he said the WDFNL’s hard-working netball committee would ensure the season opened next month as planned.

“It’s ultimately one less person. It (the competition) will roll on,” he said.

The league’s general manager Dianne Membery is also a member of the netball committee, so McSween said communication between the group and the executive would remain open.

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