Former club president wants catering rights, premiership prize money firmly on the GVL agenda

By Tyler Maher

A former Goulburn Valley League club president has called for an open dialogue surrounding a number of key issues in the competition.

As clubs look ahead to next season, Peter Croxford — who served as president of Kyabram for five years among more than double that amount of time involved with the club's committee — wants the league to reconsider how it approaches the finals, and especially the distribution of profits from them, in an attempt to discover what he would describe as a fairer system.

The league's current setup has the Shepparton Swans catering the preliminary final each season, with the task split between Deakin Reserve tenants Shepparton and Shepparton United for the grand final.

To secure these catering rights each of the three clubs pays a percentage of the overall gate takings on the day — 10 per cent for the Swans and 7.5 per cent each for the Bears and Demons as stated in the GVL bylaws — which is then distributed by the league to the other nine clubs each year.

This season that figure amounted to $1035.88 (plus GST).

But Croxford would like the opportunity for all clubs to be more involved in catering — and even hosting — the biggest games of the season.

“We need to have a fair system for everyone,” Croxford said.

“The financial winners on the grand final day are certainly not necessarily the ones that win the cup. They get the cup and the glory, but the financial winners on the day are Shepparton and Shepparton United and have been for many, many years.

“The other finals are rotated around, so you get one every two years or so, but they just don't generate the money that the grand finals generate. It's a huge amount of money for both gates and catering, and that (should) be shared amongst all the clubs whether they're competing or not.”

Croxford had a number of ideas for how the system could be improved.

These included the league or AFL Goulburn Murray buying all of the catering needs and then distributing profits evenly after all clubs had pitched in volunteers to run the various stalls, bars, barbecues and canteens, or rotating the catering rights club-by-club each season no matter where the decider was.

But he also acknowledged the best way to find a solution would be to open up a forum for all clubs to have their say.

“Everyone will have a different idea,” he said.

“It doesn't really matter which one it is as long as it's fair and an even system, so that all the clubs get a financial draw out of it, not just just a couple.

“We can't separate, it's got to be a group thing. On game day we're all certainly very individual and want to win, but at the end of the day, our survival is going to be on how we stick together and make decisions that affect us as a whole and not as individuals.

“(The league should) call a special meeting and everyone bring their ideas to the table, and that's exactly what needs doing.

“Because I'm only one of one club, every club's got to have an input and just try and work out the best way forward.”

Croxford would also like to see victorious outfits each season — across football and netball — rewarded financially for their efforts.

He felt the funds could come from those usually dedicated to competing in the now-defunct AFL Victoria Community Championships or even from the league's gate takings across the competition's finals.

“I think there should be a purse,” Croxford said.

“Ky obviously, you know, being pretty dominant over the last few years, it's great. We love to play the finals and that's what you play football for, but I think with the amount of money that's generated through the gates there should be a winner's purse.

“I would think up around $5000 for the winner of the seniors, maybe $2500 for the runner-up. And then even in the seconds and thirds and netball, whether it be $1000 for the winner and $500 for the runner-up to something like that.

“Just something that rewards them financially on the day.”

GVL operations manager Grant Wilson said prizemoney for premiers would be a great idea, but would require additional sponsors as the organisation's current budget was not able to provide it.