HAMPDEN Football Netball League will keep its matches split across Saturdays and Sundays for the time being.
League officials committed to maintaining the status quo at a senior and junior football reference group meeting in Warrnambool on Monday night.
The move comes after they received club submissions on the issue, with most calling for under 12, 14 and 16 matches to stay on Sunday.
President Hugh Worrall said the league asked for input on the issue about six months ago. He said the clubs’ verdict was “fairly unanimous”.
“We as an executive decided to put some points up for and against (change) together to start the conversation rolling,” he said.
“It’s gathered momentum from there. We asked for the clubs to give us submissions, that’s what we went over last night.
“Really, no decision was made last night, it was made months ago. Last night was about getting the submissions (and seeing what they said).”
Worrall said there was vibrant discussion at the meeting. He said the issue was not “dead and buried”, despite the clubs’ endorsement for no change.
“We’ve got these submissions from the clubs and we’ll again go over them at executive level,” he said.
“If we think there are some good points, we’ll talk about them further.
“The interesting thing is we are speaking about it. That’s the most important thing. And it’s not only us. It’s higher up as well. We can see it’s a concern with clubs this year having to drop out of junior grades of football and having to forfeit a couple of games.
“They are problems but we’re working on them. We’re not putting our heads in the sand and letting it go.”
The renewed commitment to football and netball on both days sparked debate on the HFNL Facebook page, with more than 30 comments posted.
The feedback showed support for both sides of the argument. Many of the replies were from parents of junior footballers and netballers. “This is a very dumb decision. Are you going to wait until a few clubs won’t be able to field junior sides?” one person wrote.
“No one likes change but for the better of football it should all be on the one day,” she wrote.
Another person was also disappointed with the decision, which she said was “another easy option”.
“Junior numbers are very slim for some clubs and the league should be looking after all clubs and not the minority,” she wrote. Among the supporters was one person who noted that the juniors who played on Sunday got to play in better weather than they otherwise would.
“I’m glad my son will continue to keep playing better footy in better conditions of the day and not kicking the dew off the ground,” she wrote.
Another person said travel demands were greater in the HFNL than in other leagues, which meant splitting matches over two days was logical.
“U18s in Cobden have to leave at 7.30 to play at Port Fairy. Under twelves would be playing in miners’ helmets,” he wrote.