TALKS are under way to introduce a cap on the number of junior players at Warrnambool football clubs for next season.
The Victorian Country Football League (VCFL) has opened negotiations between the Hampden and Warrnambool and District football netball leagues about how many players will be allowed at clubs from both leagues within 10 kilometres of Warrnambool.
VCFL south-west area manager Brett Anderson said a cap on the number of junior players at clubs within Warrnambool was being introduced in line with a recommendation from the Southern Border Review, which looked at football structures across the south-west.
Under VCFL rules, any final recommendation from the review must be adopted.
The review had recommended junior clubs could not have more than 28 players in each age group in a bid to ensure an equal distribution of footballers.
But Anderson said the number was the sticking point during discussions between the leagues.
“The number could vary slightly (from the 28 recommended). We want to do it in conjunction with the leagues,” he said. “We did say 28 but that will probably change.”
He said he had put a proposal to both leagues this week and was waiting for feedback. He declined to reveal the suggestion.
“We would be lenient in the first year,” he said.
“I would be looking to try and not make players be moved on in the first year. If you register or were registered this year, they wouldn’t be included in the cap, but it would apply to new players.”
He said the cap would be introduced to clubs like North Warrnambool Eagles and Allansford, but not on those further away.
“Players in towns like Camperdown, Terang, Timboon — they would have to travel if they had too many and that doesn’t make much sense,” Anderson said.
Port Fairy and Koroit would also be outside the cap.
Anderson said the cap would apply to the Warrnambool and District league’s under 14½ and under 17½ groups, as well as the Hampden league’s under 14 and under 16 competitions.
Anderson said clubs in Ballarat had introduced a cap a couple of years ago and modified it accordingly.
The Ballarat experience had seen clubs cap player numbers at 60 for both under 14 and under 16 age groups. With clubs fielding two sides in each age group, the clubs had later lowered the cap to 55 players to ensure all players were finding homes.