VICTORIAN football officials say they believe the sport has a healthy future in the Warrnambool district.
Victorian Country Football League south-west area manager Brett Anderson said he was confident the area’s population could sustain its clubs.
The verdict comes as population statistics suggest football in the Mount Gambier district is in better health than in Warrnambool.
The Southern Border Review said Warrnambool had 8545 males aged five to 44 and supported 11 football clubs within a 20-kilometre radius of the city.
By contrast, Mount Gambier had 7016 males in the same age bracket who supported just four football clubs within the same radius.
Taking into account clubs beyond 20km, Warrnambool supports twice as many clubs as Mount Gambier with only a few thousand more available players.
Anderson yesterday spoke publicly about the Southern Border Review for the first time.
He said he was confident there were enough people in Warrnambool to sustain clubs and leagues in the area.
“Warrnambool has been doing that for a long time, so I don’t think that’s a major concern,” he said.
“And Warrnambool is growing. You would think that would continue.
“Auskick and the development and interest in footy in Warrnambool is pretty high.”
The review backed a merged Hamilton side and Portland moving into the Hampden league, one of a host of final recommendations.
It also called for Casterton and Sandford to remain separate clubs, but to merge at some point in the future.
“There is a bit of work to do over the border,” Anderson said. “Not all of that can be done at once and obviously we’re putting in place the working party to try and assist over there.
“From the Victorian side of the border, most seem reasonably comfortable with what we’ve proposed.
“There wasn’t as much agreement from the other side. They didn’t want to lose clubs.
“But they’re now moving forward and seeing what they can do.”