Anthony Cianflone on Football Victoria (via his YouTube channel)

His comments came during an Adjournment matter on November 16 and were directed to the Minister for Community Sport, Ros Spence.

“It saddens me greatly to report … I’ve continued to be approached by local grassroots football club representatives who have continued to express their concerns about the role, governance and culture of Football Victoria,” Cianflone said.

Cianflone went on to list specific concerns, such as the fact that Football Victoria (FV) has had seven CEOs in as many years; FV has not held an annual general meeting for 18 months; FV has not published an annual report on its website since 2019; FV continues “to charge local clubs and families some of the highest fees of any sporting code in return for what many consider to be diminishing support”; FV has not clarified its financial position since its 2021 financial report where it claimed a $2.1 million surplus; FV has not contributed any funds towards upgrading local football facilities, nor towards the ‘Home of the Matildas’ facility located at La Trobe University; FV’s “sudden notification” it intends to sell its headquarters in South Melbourne without providing any clarity regarding how that money will be reinvested into grassroots football.

Cianflone then referenced FV’s recently-published list of ‘financially compliant’ clubs after announcing that they were owed just under $2 million via a statement on their website.

“A significant number of clubs failed to meet their financial obligations in 2023, resulting in a historic level of debt to FV, totalling an unprecedented figure nearing $2 million,” said the FV statement.

“As a result, Clubs who are unable or unwilling to meet their financial obligations will be regarded as ineligible to participate in the 2024 season.

“We acknowledge that as football participants you have paid fees which incorporate the above allocation to FV, however a number of clubs are failing to forward your registration fee component to FV resulting in this existing debt.   

“FV has worked diligently to contact and work collaboratively with clubs with outstanding debts, by offering payment arrangements and longer-term solutions where required.”

Cianflone labelled the statement a “shock notification” and called into question the dynamic between the governing body and its member clubs.

“It’s very concerning that a peak sporting body would be treating its not-for-profit and volunteer clubs in this manner,” said Cianflone.

“FV should be working in good faith with the entire football community and with government to help grow the game across Victoria.”

Il Globo reached out to the Minister for Community Sport’s office and received a response from a Victorian Government spokesperson saying, “This is a matter for Football Victoria.”

FV has since announced via its website that an AGM will be held on Monday, December 11 at the State Football Centre in Bundoora.

Il Globo has contacted FV for comment on two occasions and is still yet to receive an official statement.

More to come.