AFL Western District has taken control of the Warrnambool and District league after crisis talks convinced the embattled executive to quit overnight.
It comes less than a week after president Ken McSween was asked to step down by his executive after an alleged breach of Warrnambool and District Football Netball League by-laws.
A statement released by AFL Western District revealed the body had taken over with immediate effect after the WDFNL executive voted unanimously to step down.
“AFL Western District is working to ensure minimal disruption for clubs,” the statement, released close to midnight on Friday, said.
“Contingency plans, put in place tonight, will see all (junior) players yet to be cited for overage exemption will be assessed.
“This will occur at games (on Saturday) either by Alan Thompson, Peter Allan, or an AFL Western District commissioner.
“Game day will be business as usual for tomorrow.”
It is understood exemptions will be granted in line with the Warrnambool and District league’s by-laws.and policy.
It’s the latest development after an off-season dominated by debate on junior football.
AFL Western District’s junior review, which was released in December, aimed to strengthen the game but divided opinion across the district.
The junior review recommended clubs be allowed a maximum 26 players on junior lists and also urged a shift to 16 on-field players with five on the bench.
The top body postponed the review – citing a need for more consultation over its recommendations – after uproar from several Hampden and Warrnambool and District league clubs.
AFL Western District said via the statement it was aware of a “difficult” start to the season but was committed to strengthening the WDFNL in its tenure of governance.
“We are conscious of the uncertainty this brings on top of what has already transpired in a difficult start to the season,” it read.
“We will communicate with club presidents during the next week and work with you to ensure a strong Warrnambool and District Football Netball League.”