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Frankston in trouble?

Tosays Age story is not that good!I saw Schwab on TV and he sounded a litte more positive but I dont like his comments in this article.

Frankston may fold as AFL funds dry up

Brent Diamond | April 19, 2009

THE financially stricken Frankston Football Club is in danger of folding amid increasing uncertainty surrounding the AFL's budget for AFL Victoria in 2010 and beyond.

The Dolphins, who receive $140,000 annually from AFL Victoria, are not guaranteed the same amount next season and say they can't foresee their future beyond this season.

"That's the thing that we're worried about. The less revenue the AFL gives to AFL Victoria will flow on to us. We'll be shutting up shop here," said Dolphins president John Barry.

It is understood the AFL will take into account its long-term goal of establishing an eastern seaboard competition that would include Gold Coast Football Club and, possibly, west Sydney — as well as the economic crisis — in determining the AFL Victoria allocation beyond this year.

The AFL injects around $16 million annually into Victorian football, from community through to state level, but the AFL's general manager of national and international development, David Matthews, said he could not say whether the same amount would be allocated next year.

The Dolphins, one of two VFL stand-alone clubs with Port Melbourne, are seen to be under the biggest threat given their poor financial state, but Matthews says the VFL competition will stay alive.

The uncertainty for next year's budget comes after a series of reportedly heated battles between the AFL and VFL club shareholders who fear for the future of their traditional emblems in the country's oldest football competition.

AFL Victoria chief executive Peter Schwab said he couldn't guarantee the future of VFL clubs beyond this season given the AFL's control on funding.

"The budget's been set for 2009 so our VFL clubs and everyone else knows what they're getting for 2009," Schwab said.

"Every year's different. The budget fundamentally stays the same but it depends on the income and I'm not sure until the end of the year, how much we do get from the AFL because that depends on how they perform."

However, The Sunday Age understands the AFL is hoping the Gold Coast will join the VFL next season with plans to introduce a similar west Sydney team in future years as part of its development plans for an eastern seaboard competition.

Gold Coast will decide next month whether it will join the VFL or the QAFL from 2010 before it begins in the AFL in 2011.

Other VFL clubs such as Port Melbourne are looking at joining rival state leagues such as the SANFL if it is more financially rewarding.

Frankston believes it wouldn't have the finances for travelling to an interstate league.

"We'd have to look at it closely," Barry said. "The reason I say that is financially, the travel would take up a huge financial requirement and we even struggled when we had to play Tasmania over there. If financially we were better off by it, we'd look at it."

Barry said the Dolphins' potential path to joining last year's VFL team Tasmania Devils on the extinction list began when they expected St Kilda to form an AFL alignment after ending an association with Casey Scorpions last season.

The Saints will move to an $11 million training facility at Belvedere Park in Frankston next season but ignored the Dolphins and signed with Sandringham for two years after Melbourne forged an alignment with Casey.

"We expected that they (St Kilda) would have talked to us about it and they should have but they didn't. There's a lot of fors and againsts for alignments and one of the fors is the financial gain. As it stands right now, there's no available AFL partners."

Barry expects the team to sink even further when the new state poker machine laws begin from next season. Clubs will go through a bidding system for their own poker machines, meaning every machine requires a 10 per cent deposit before making a profit under new gaming arrangements announced in April last year by Premier John Brumby.

Barry said the club currently made an annual profit of approximately $150,000 from its pokies. He forecast a dark period for other VFL clubs beyond this season.

"What's going to happen is that the competition's already lost a lot of the spirit from the VFA sides after the AFL influenced the competition with alignments. Now, we're going to see a lot of these traditional clubs leave the state environment with more of an AFL takeover. Obviously the competition is not working the way the AFL wants it to be," he said.

Matthews said the AFL would continue to back Victorian football.

"Victorian football is the jewel in the crown in many respects and something that we want to continue to promote and nurture," he said. "There's 225,000 players
across Victoria and probably about 400 of them are in the VFL competition. It's a competition the AFL has supported and will continue to support."