More than 80 community soccer clubs are calling on Football Victoria to withdraw invoices issued for registration fees for the 2020 season.
Football Victoria (FV) sent clubs invoices asking them to still pay registration fees despite most players not getting to play a game due to COVID-19.
In a letter to Football Victoria, the clubs said the request to still pay registration fees isn’t justified as some of the clubs had withdrawn from the season, while the season didn’t go ahead for the other clubs. The letter also cited a lack of payments and income for the clubs, refunds issued to members and other costs.
Clubs from Whittlesea, Hume, Macedon Ranges, Moorabool, Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong and Wyndham are among the group of 80 clubs.
Bundoora United president and group spokesman Andrew Kyriazis said there had been a lack of correspondence from Football Victoria about their concerns.
He said it worked out to be about $60 per player they were being asked to pay, with clubs being invoiced between $3000 and $30,000.
“We’re being held to ransom,” he said.
“It started with a group of 10 presidents and now there’s 80 clubs. We sent an email on November 23 and called for a face-to-face meeting to come up with an amicable solution.
“We sent a follow-up email, but there was a lack of any acknowledgement.
“So many clubs are suffering in the path. We’ve incurred expenses and had no income.
“We do not have money for everything else until we get rego fees from next year.”
Kyriazis said players can either pay the registration fee straight to FV or via the club, who then pass it on.
All players are entered into a system, where clubs have to accept them, but Kyriazis said they hadn’t accepted the players due to withdrawing all their teams. Since then, FV hs accepted all players on the clubs’ behalf leaving them liable for the registration fee.
If fees aren’t paid, players are unlikely to be allowed to play next season.
United gave its members the option of having fees refunded or rolled over to 2021.
Some clubs only gave members the option to roll their fees over, due to not having the money to be able to refund.
“We are one of the largest clubs in the north-west with 500 juniors,” he said.
“We made the decision with the board it was too risky to play and pulled out of the competition before it had even started.
“Most of our members took the option to get a refund. We had families who couldn’t afford groceries, we had to care about our members first.”
Kyriazis said while his club was financially stable, many other clubs were struggling and this was putting more pressure on them.
Football Victoria was approached for comment but didn’t respond by deadline.
But speaking on 3AW last week, Football Victoria president Kimon Taliadorosn said they had no choice but to charge registration fees for 2020.
“The reality for us as a sporting organisation, we do have hard costs, we do have staff and overheads,” he said.
“I empathise with what I’m hearing this morning and it’s consistent with some of the feedback we’re had and contrasts with other clubs that do understand and engaged with us and tried to work it out on an individual basis, which is most welcome.”