CATS’ WORLD PUT ON PAWS

HEAV­ILY IN DEBT ARD­MONA EVICTED FROM KYABRAM DIS­TRICT LEAGUE AND WILL SPEND YEAR IN EX­ILE

Shepparton News - - FRONT PAGE - By AY­DIN PAYNE

Ard­mona Foot­ball Net­ball Club has run out of lives and will not be a part of the Kyabram Dis­trict League com­pe­ti­tion next year. The league voted to sus­pend the club’s mem­ber­ship on Tues­day night mean­ing the Cats will not cel­e­brate their 100th birth­day next year. But league pres­i­dent Fraser Ker­rins said Ard­mona could be­come vi­able again. “And if all goes well, then next year it would be taken to an­other vote be­tween the clubs and board on re­in­stat­ing Ard­mona in the league,” he said. “We have tried to help Ard­mona for the past 12-18 months, we’ve been hav­ing con­stant meet­ings with them. It’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing to see the neg­a­tive com­men­tary on so­cial me­dia directed at the league, we have tried to help out for a long time.”

Ard­mona Foot­ball Net­ball Club has been de­nied af­fil­i­a­tion in Kyabram Dis­trict League next sea­son af­ter a vote was held to de­cide the club’s im­me­di­ate fu­ture.

All 15 mem­ber clubs of the league (in­clud­ing Ard­mona) were in­vited to a gen­eral meet­ing on Tues­day night to de­cide the fu­ture af­fil­i­a­tion of the Cats.

De­spite Ard­mona pre­sent­ing its case, the league ex­ec­u­tive and clubs voted in favour of sus­pend­ing the mem­ber­ship of the Bush Cats for next sea­son.

The de­ci­sion comes off Ard­mona's re­cent strug­gles, in which it had an out­stand­ing debt owed to the league in the range of $15 000 to $20 000.

The money the club owes is re­lated to league af­fil­i­a­tion fees, um­pir­ing fees, train­ers fees and other un­paid costs.

In a fi­nal bid to pay off its debt, a GoFundMe page was or­gan­ised by Ard­mona’s trea­surer Teisha McCoy.

So far the crowd fund­ing page has raised $10 800 since it was cre­ated less than two weeks ago.

But de­spite their last-ditch ef­forts to raise funds, the Bush Cats are now with­out mem­ber­ship for next sea­son.

League pres­i­dent Fraser Ker­rins re­vealed how the de­ci­sion came to be on Tues­day evening.

‘‘All 15 clubs in­clud­ing Ard­mona were present at the meet­ing,’’ Ker­rins said.

‘‘Ard­mona pre­sented their case on how they think they could re­pay their debts and how they could make next sea­son work in re­gard to play­ers and vol­un­teers.’’

Af­ter Ard­mona put for­ward its case to re­main in the league next sea­son, a vote was held to de­cide the club’s fate.

‘‘Due to league by-laws on the fi­nan­cial status of mem­ber clubs in the league, Ard­mona was in­el­i­gi­ble to vote,’’ Ker­rins said.

‘‘There was one vote against the de­ci­sion to sus­pend their mem­ber­ship for next sea­son.’’

And un­der league rules, Ard­mona can­not ap­ply to en­ter an­other league un­til its fi­nan­cial plight with the league has been paid off.

Due to Ard­mona’s fi­nan­cial status, Ker­rins said any bid to join a neigh­bour­ing league ‘‘would be blocked’’.

With Ard­mona’s im­me­di­ate fu­ture now known, the Bush Cats will now turn to pay­ing off their debts and fo­cus on the op­por­tu­nity to re­turn to the play­ing field in 2021.

‘‘The process now for Ard­mona is that they work with the league and AFLGM (AFL Goul­burn Murray) to be­come a vi­able club,’’ Ker­rins said.

‘‘We will look to set some goals in place and help them achieve those goals.

‘‘And if all goes well, then next year it would be taken to an­other vote be­tween the clubs and board on re­in­stat­ing Ard­mona in the league.

‘‘We have tried to help Ard­mona for the past 12-18 months, we’ve been hav­ing con­stant meet­ings with them.

‘‘It’s re­ally dis­ap­point­ing to see the neg­a­tive com­men­tary on so­cial me­dia directed at the league, we have tried to help out for a long time.’’

With the ever-chang­ing land­scape of coun­try foot­ball and net­ball, Ker­rins re­it­er­ated the de­ci­sion had the best in­ter­ests of the long-term fu­ture of the league and its mem­bers at heart.

‘‘This de­ci­sion has been made for the long-term sta­bil­ity and fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity of the league and its clubs,’’ he said.

‘‘The league has been cov­er­ing Ard­mona’s costs which has then im­pacted the rest of the com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘At the mo­ment, none of our clubs can re­ceive a re­bate, as money made then cov­ers the fees that Ard­mona has yet to pay.

‘‘It was about as­sur­ing the long-term fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity of our clubs and league.’’

Bet­ter days: Ard­mona play­ers won’t be lin­ing up for the Cats next sea­son af­ter the club was punted from the league.

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