Black Diamond still ‘miles apart’ from AFL

The Black Diamond AFL says it is still “miles apart” from the AFL in meeting the umbrella body’s conditions for affiliation next year.

The Newcastle Herald reported last month that the AFL had presented BDAFL clubs with a draft plan for a new entity merging the Hunter Coast junior league with the Black Diamond seniors.

The BDAFL’s affiliation is under threat if it does not comply with a range of governance issues, including an equalisation policy which meets the AFL’s objectives.

The Herald reported on Monday that the BDAFL had scrapped its controversial recruitment limits on dominant clubs Newcastle City and Terrigal-Avoca in favour of a player-points system. 

It has also handed clubs a competition model for next year which includes promoting five clubs to first grade.

“We’ll certainly hand that information to the AFL, but at the moment we’re miles apart,” BDAFL president Wal Bembic said on Tuesday.

“What they do is up to them. We believe we’ve filled their requirements to meet affiliation, but the goalposts are tending to change.”

He said the AFL had introduced a new by-law in the past fortnight which required any competition structure to “meet their approval”.

The AFL provides registration and insurance set-ups to the BDAFL, but Bembic said his board had looked at sourcing its own alternatives.

“The clubs are very confident in the board and our performance,” he said.

“We’ll let the AFL do what they’ve got to do and it’s footy as normal next year as far as we’re concerned.”

One club spokesman told the Herald that the AFL did not have the backing of clubs.