For those of you who have just tuned in

March 08, 2018

The unfolding Picola District Football Netball League and AFL Goulburn Murray split contains a myriad of different storylines.

From the series of events which led to the situation, to the possible fallout arising from it, interested onlookers and affected parties across the region could be forgiven for losing track of what is actually happening.

Here is a rundown of the saga to this point.


The Picola board signed a 12-month affiliation agreement with AFL Goulburn Murray in March last year.

This brought the north-west and south-east leagues under AFL Victoria’s Community Club Sustainability Program, which meant adopting the player points system.

It also secured other services such as insurance, online competition management processes and access for players to talent pathways.


Both parties differ slightly in their view on the reasons behind the eventual split.

What is not disputed is that AFL GM initially sent the agreement to the Picola board in December last year, requesting it be re-signed and returned — or an indication given that it would not be signed — by February 12.

After a number of deadlines were missed, although one through an email failing to send which the Picola board apologised for, a meeting was set between the two parties for Monday week ago — set to be the first face-to-face meeting between them in a number of years.

AFL GM cancelled the meeting at short notice after deciding the points the Picola board wished to raise had been covered already, and then issued a final deadline of 5pm Monday, March 5, for the matter to be resolved by.

The Picola board did not indicate its intentions before 5pm (although it did have a scheduled meeting for 7pm that day), prompting AFL GM to announce the roll back of the affiliation between the Picola leagues and AFL Victoria.


The Picola leagues have been removed from AFL Victoria’s system.

They will no longer have access to its services and will no longer be bound by its governance.

Players in the leagues will also not be eligible to represent TAC Cup teams like the Murray Bushrangers or be able to take part in other pathways like the AFL GM Academy.

What now?

The Picola board has been on the front foot since the breakdown of the agreement.

A new insurance policy, as well as plans for replacement online services, have already been put into action.

Players will still be forced to see out contracts with their clubs — in essence stopping Picola league clubs poaching from other leagues and vice-versa — and serve suspensions handed down by any tribunal.

The competition is also committed to adhering to the player points system — despite having no obligation to do so — in order to further help lessen the damage to neighbouring leagues in terms of player movement.

But what remains up in the air is how many — if any — of the 17 clubs involved in the Picola leagues will choose to remain under AFL Victoria affiliation.

AFL GM has given each individual club a two-week grace period of sustained affiliation in order to make their decision, while simultaneously extending an offer to form an alternate football and netball competition for those not willing to follow the Picola board.

Players will remain in limbo until these decisions have been finalised and made public.

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