VAFA CALLS TIME ON UNDER 18s

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The VAFA Board confirmed at last night’s March Members Meeting that the Under 18 competition would be suspended in 2015, however the VAFA will look to establish a Colts competition instead. 
VAFA President Michael Hazell told the members, “After much consultation with our clubs that were to field an Under 18 team and given the small numbers of confirmed teams the Board has made the decision to disband the VAFA’s Under 18 competition for the 2015 season.” 
“This decision has not been taken lightly and you can be assured that all avenues were exhausted in our efforts to make this competition a success,” said Hazell. 
The VAFA introduced an Under 18 competition for the 2009 season as a means to facilitate a pathway for many of the Association’s community clubs with juniors. The competition was initially embraced and in 2010, two sections were required as the demand for teams increased. 
However over the six years the VAFA has run an Under 18 section only one club, St Bernards, has fielded a team in the section in every season. 
This situation is best explained by the changes junior competitions have made by increasing the age groups they offer; and some senior competitions in certain regions have introduced a junior section meaning that VAFA clubs were losing much of their depth at Under 18 level. 
“Whilst the VAFA invested heavily in this section, the reality was with some of our stalwart Under 18 clubs looking like they were unable to field a side in 2015, we made the tough decision” said Hazell. 
VAFA CEO Michael Sholly said the VAFA would be working closely with those clubs that had teams ready to go. 
“There are a number of options, but most importantly these players will not be missing out on a game of football” said Sholly. 
“We are looking at introducing a Colts competition, similar to last year, where the current U18 sides would join clubs with a second U19 team or one less competitive. We will not make any firm decision until March 13 when the cutoff for clubs to submit teams passes.” 
Sholly added that working with clubs a little longer to ensure they had enough players was not an issue this year due to the VAFA’s investment in its own fixturing software. 
“Our football operations team can now complete a fixture in a couple of days due to our acquisition of the AFL’s elite fixture creation software” Sholly told the members. 
Previously the VAFA had to join the queue with all the other competitions to use the AFL’s system but now the VAFA has their own version to complete the fixtures on.