THE Riddell District Football Netball League will once again be classified as a metropolitan league after breaking away from AFL Goldfields.
The move is believed to significantly reduce costs for clubs through several changes, including reduced affiliation and registration fees and the league being able to sign its own apparel deals, saving clubs $9 for every pair of shorts through new supplier Star Sub compared to last season.
From late 2019 to early 2020, the RDFNL board met with senior club presidents who made it clear that they wanted the league to be self-governed once again.
The RDFNL was previously self-governed and considered a metropolitan league up until 2012 when AFL Goldfields took over administration under the AFL Vic Country banner.
Newly-appointed RDFNL general manager Jordan Doyle said the league was thrilled to be again classified as a metropolitan league.
“The board, in conjunction with our clubs, thought the time was right to move back to self-administration and a part of that was affiliating directly with AFL Victoria once more,” he said.
“The RDFNL is a boutique league with a unique mix of clubs and geographic locations, but this move gives the league flexibility moving forward.”
The league’s salary cap and points systems will now be managed in-house in consultation with AFL Victoria, rather than through an AFL Goldfields committee, while interleague play does not change at either senior or junior level, with both already administrated by AFL Victoria.
The move is also a positive step for the league’s female football programs, with the league governing its own female competitions, with finals to be played on RDFNL grounds rather than the Ballarat area.
The AFL Goldfields Club 18 competition will be rechristened as the RDFNL Club 18 competition with four clubs already committed.
Netball will be unaffected at both junior and senior levels as the league will still be affiliated with Netball Victoria.
Doyle said the gameday experience would be unchanged.
“It’s nothing new to the league, it’s just going back to the way it was almost a decade ago,” he said.
“The league is still a football-netball league and gameday won’t look any different than it has in the past.
“It’s some back-room stuff but it helps reduce costs for our clubs and the league.”