Plans to merge the governance of football and netball in the Wimmera will move forward - nearly a year after an amalgamated structure was first recommended.
Representatives from the Wimmera and Horsham District football and netball leagues and AFL Wimmera- Mallee will convene this month to revisit the prospect of a governance shake-up, which was tabled in a 2018 report into the sports' future directions.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee region manager Bruce Petering said the project management team would work towards identifying the best governance structure for the two leagues.
Petering said board members of the Wimmera Football League, Wimmera Netball Association, Horsham District Football Netball League and the AFL Wimmera Mallee's commission were invited to the meeting on July 22.
AFL Wimmera-Mallee's 2018 Future Directions Review suggested a merger of the governing bodies to one entity.
"The recommendation was put on hold so the netball association could have a period of time to see what they would do and how their negotiations with the football league would go ahead," Petering said.
"The Wimmera Netball Association said, 'Why would we want to amalgamate if there was a bigger picture ahead?'."
Petering was hopeful an initial governance plan would be formed before the end of the season.
"We'll get this done reasonably quickly. The actual recommendation of the structure and the reasoning behind it won't take too long," he said.
Petering said clubs would have the final say on any recommendations regarding a merger of the governing bodies.
"They are the major stakeholders and they need to be the ones who are invested and make that decision," he said.
Petering, as region manager, was involved in the merger between the Central Murray and Golden Rivers Football Netball Leagues at the end of the 2018 season.
The unified Central Rivers board is responsible for the governance, support and development of clubs and operations of the two leagues.
"Their leagues remained the same, but their governance came into one body, and we have that model to work from to suit our region, should need be. But it's certainly not a given that that will happen," he said.
Recommendations from the future directions review also included junior participation and bridging the gap between club performance.
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