Brett Connell – VAFA CEO
On behalf of the VAFA Board and Administration we welcome you back for the 2022 season. With the season stopping last year in August, once again it has been a long and frustrating wait to get back. Some would say the longest pre-season ever!
By now all clubs would be back up and training and from a VAFA perspective we are the same. Our focus for season 2022 is to make certain we maximise the opportunity for our community to return to the field and back to the club in the safest possible manner.
Our 130th year as an Association is one we are excited about and while a few of our plans remain up in the air we are certainly committed to delivering a full season of VAFA football for all involved. The majority of our men’s fixtures have been completed and released, along with our William Buck Premier women’s section – which will see an increase in teams and games in 2022 as part of the VAFA Women’s Football Game Plan.
Other remaining fixtures are being finalised as team numbers from clubs are confirmed – we are certainly on track to record strong participation numbers again, on the back of two difficult years at club level.
Our Umpire numbers are strong and the UA begin their pre-season tonight (February 7). A registration incentive program for returning umpires has been in place and has been successful, add to that the Club Incentive Program which was approved by the Board in late 2021, which will see a $30K investment in umpiring, directly accessible by clubs, we are certainly headed for an improved year numbers wise.
More recently AFL Victoria released the most current Return To Play protocols to assist clubs in their planning and we have advocated strongly to AFL Victoria, and in turn the AFL, to reduce the cost of insurance by $1K per club for the 2022 season.
Our planned 130 Year Season Launch has been placed on hold in the current unknown environment, with clubs to receive further information once we settle on the details.
In the same manner our Annual Club Conference (scheduled for this coming Saturday February 12) will not be held in person, once again due to the current environment, as we look to prioritise the health and safety of our club volunteers and community. More information will follow in regards to our plans for the Club Conference content to be made available to all clubs. Following a review of last year’s virtual event we will be delivering the content in a different manner, one which we believe will deliver flexibility to volunteers directly requiring the information at hand.
As always all of the VAFA Administration Team are only a phone call or email away should clubs require direct assistance.
2022 will also see the VAFA consult on, develop and implement a new Strategic Plan, with club, umpire and community input imperative.
There is also the matter of the EGM set down for Monday February 14, 2022, with notice and advice now with clubs and other members. In line with our approach across February this meeting will be held virtually which will allow for greater accessibility for attendees and maintain our focus of the health and wellbeing of our community.
Due to the fact that the EGM will be a separate meeting and outcomes of the resolutions put to the meeting are unknown, it was decided to delay the cancelled AGM of December 6, 2021. Given the requirements related to the EGM, the new date for the AGM has not been set and will be advised shortly to allow for all AGM requirements related to rule changes and the Board election to be met in a timely fashion. Our goal is to have the AGM in person.
The AGM will allow us to finalise the 2021 year and bounce into 2022 with a full head of steam. I would also like to update you on the following matters in brief:
- Stephen Privitera joined us in mid-January as our Umpire Operations Manager; Stephen brings with him a strong background in officiating administration with Football Federation Victoria and has hit the ground running
- Cameron Voss has joined us (3) days per week in the Media Manager role; with a Broadcast/Digital manager (2) days per week) being sourced to compliment the Media Team
- We are close to finalising the GM – Commercial & Media role, with the aim of having this position filled by mid-March
- We will also advertise shortly for a Commercial/Media Officer to round out our Commercial/Media team
- Premium Partner William Buck have committed to a (1) year extension with an option for 2023
- Holmesglen Institute are keen to extend their partnership and we are close to finalising this agreement
- Mecwacare will be renewing their partnership with the VAFA to focus on our Masters competition in 2022
- Anytime Fitness are in discussions regarding renewing, with all other 2021 partners on board again
- We welcome new partner Boob Armour and thank Epworth for their support across the last 8 years they will not be continuing in 2022
- Application Fees were due by Monday January 31, please make these payments if you are yet to do so
- 2021 Club Financial Reports were also due by January 31, please submit these if you are yet to do so
- Affiliation Fees are being reviewed in line with Advisory Group and end of season club meeting feedback
- Certificate of Merit deadline is today (February 7) as a reminder to clubs wishing to nominate club people please forward these through Susan Miller ([email protected])
- The 2022 VAFA Conditions of Player in a COVID-19 Environment document is in its final draft form, has been past all of our Advisory Groups (Premier Men’s Sections, Divisional Men’s, Women’s & Under 19) and will set a strong and more definite framework for the conduct of our competitions in 2022 – following learnings from 2021
- A new Player Permit Application Process has been released to clubs
- The instigation of a Coach Development Program, in conjunction with AFL Victoria has also been released to clubs
In closing out this update I would like to wish each and every club the very best in the next (8) weeks, in what promises to be a hectic and exciting time. Please reach out if you require assistance at any time.
Until next time, keep safe and well and bring on the 2022 season.