WA Football Commission chief executive Gavin Taylor has denied the WAFL reserves are under threat due to the coronavirus crisis, saying the competition’s future hasn’t even been discussed yet.
Industry sources told The West Australian last week that the second tier league, which has existed for a century, was on the chopping block as clubs prepare to operate with a leaner operating model.
Taylor though denied the “speculation”, saying it was not part of competition’s leaders’ discussions at the moment.
“We haven’t turned our mind to that at this point in time,” Taylor told ABC Grandstand.
“We have been really focused about ensuring we are putting the measures in place to protect the financial model of football in WA.
“It is not on our agenda and hasn’t been discussed at this point.”
Another problem the WAFL could face from next year is the potential loss of the West Coast reserves team should AFL lists be cut to 35 players.
This means AFL footballers not picked in their senior sides may once again be spread throughout the competition’s nine clubs, heading back to a format which was in place before the Eagles and Fremantle aligned with East Perth and Peel Thunder respectively.
“We haven’t really turned our mind to what the implication to come from a reduced AFL list size,” Taylor said.
“What flexibility would be required for a state league?
“How would you apply more talent actually coming back into the competition and spread that out?
“This will be part of the work we do with the AFL because its a pretty significant change if it comes into play.”
Taylor stopped short of ensuring the future of the WAFLW competition, but did acknowledge it was an integral part of the State’s footballing future.
“I think when you’ve got 90,000 females that are now playing the game in WA, that’s nearly one third of our participation base,” he said.
“We took the initiative to put this into place to ensure we’ve got a clear pathway for females to enter the game.
“We are seeing more and more females that are entering through Auskick and junior football, so we believe it is going to be critical to the whole talent pathway and ultimately it is going to be required to support the AFL Women’s competition going forward.
“That’s not an area we are going to singularly target in terms of making these efficiency gains. The structure of the competition that we have today is what we are trying to protect and preserve going forward.”