WAFLW Clubs are fighting to keep their reserves in the league after being told about scrapping plans.
Clubs were blindsided by a proposal earlier this month to remove the reserves league next season.
Clubs were told the women’s State league would be stripped back to just the league and youth Rogers cup, after the commission decided the reserves were no longer needed.
Distress and confusion came from the clubs, leading them to ask the WA Football Commission to reject the recommendation.
Former coach and WAFLW player, Narelle McIntyre also started a petition to help the decision get overturned.
Ms McIntyre told the National Indigenous Times that she thinks overturning the decision is important because scrapping the reserves “removes the very pathway that exists to help young players grow and develop to a high level.”
“You will set the game back in-time for the girls and the progress that has been made is undone,” she said.
“The pressure will be on them to be at the elite level at 18 which is unfair. Not everyone is a ready-made top level footballer.
“The pathway for these girls is proven and needs to stay for the growth and development of the sport.”
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The petition started by Ms McIntyre has over 14000 signatures.
“I believe it’s had a massive impact. We are trending globally and the WAFC is reconsidering their decision,” she said.
“People are frustrated that the main pathway these girls have into the WAFL is being taken away from them without any consultation, thought or presence of mind to have a substitute
path in its place.”
The WA Football Commission is preparing to meet with clubs on tonight to discuss the competition’s fate.
The meeting will be run by WAFC chairman Wayne Martin, giving clubs to chance voice their opinions on whether the reserves competition is feasible going forward.
WA Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti also said the decision should “not be supported”.
“Female football, just like cricket, has been a sleeping giant and I believe we’re at the very beginning of the sport’s era of growth,” he said.
“Any net loss of teams in women and girls football is unacceptable.”
“We should not be reducing the opportunity for women and girls to access the great sport of football, especially when the rise of female football has been an Australian success story these past few years.”
Minister Buti said discontinuing WAFLW reserves competition would be “discriminatory” and “goes against the moves in most sports at community and elite level, including the Olympic Games, that demand competitions in women’s and men’s sports”.
“Any such decision would send a bad message to aspiring female footballers across WA and be contrary to the aims of the sport.”
A final decision will be made by the WAFC board in the coming weeks.
By Teisha Cloos