RESPECTED cricket administrator Kelvin White wants Victorian football officials to get rid of the TAC Cup.
White said he believed the pathway football program was destroying country cricket clubs by removing the top teenage talent from their communities.
The South West Cricket Association life member made the extraordinary call in a letter to The Standard after being frustrated football selection trials too often took precedent over cricket finals.
“It seems the people running the Geelong Falcons and Ballarat Rebels programs remain hell-bent on forcing our young people to turn their backs on other sports so they don’t lose their opportunity to make the final TAC Cup under 16/18 squads,” he wrote.
White reiterated his concerns in a wide-ranging interview this week.
He said cricket clubs were not the only groups affected — football clubs, too, missed out on having use of the young players they developed.
Footballers who were not drafted were encouraged to play at VFL level, rather than return to their home clubs.
White proposed that AFL clubs draft players straight from their home clubs, and for coaches at the Falcons and Rebels to take on roles at Hampden and other major league clubs.
“Where I’m going is if the Hampden league was seen as the league that you go to, it almost becomes a mini TAC Cup,” he said.
“All of a sudden you’re releasing the Brett Taylors and the Paul Henriksens and these guys that are helping out at the Falcons and the Rebels, you’ve got them released and paid to work at league or club level.
“They could run their own sessions with these people in their own time (and) you’ve still got those blokes helping out the senior players or helping out at the clubs.”
White stressed that he did not want to “tell football how to run a business”.
But he said strategies to reduce football’s impact on cricket warranted investigation by both sports.
Disbanding the TAC Cup was one of two suggestions White had to reaffirm cricket as the No. 1 summer sport. He also called for the introduction of a player points system to limit the number of off-season movements which were a “distraction” to cricket.
“If the minor clubs and senior clubs know how many points they’ve got in their points cap, they can set a target,” he said.