Shock decision to merge VFL and NEAFL

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The AFL’s shock decision to merge the NEAFL with the Victorian Football League to create the premier reserve-grade competition has been slammed by players left out in the cold.

After making huge cuts to staff at AFL HQ the league announced on Monday the North Eastern Australian Football League would be absorbed into Victoria’s state league competition, with 2021 to be “a year of transition”.

“Second-tier football in 2021 will be a year of transition that will see the AFL take into consideration the impact of a reduced AFL soft cap, the level of AFL club investment and resource allocation across men’s and women’s football programs, any player CBA revisions and any associated impact on player list sizes,” an AFL statement read.

The decision has rubbed several people the wrong way, with NEAFL side Canberra Demons unaware of the call before the AFL’s press release, according to¬†The Canberra Times.

“Charming. The @CanberraDemons find out the #neafl is getting scrapped when the @afl make the announcement,” journalist David Polkinghorne posted on Twitter.

“Haven’t discussed it at all, didn’t even tell them they were announcing it! Feel for those @neaflofficial who lost their jobs today.”

The future of the five stand-alone NEAFL clubs is uncertain with the league only confirming that four AFL clubs in NSW and Queensland will continue in the VFL, while the under-18s system will be revamped.

All AFL clubs have been told they can either field their own teams in the new VFL, align with an existing team or spread their players across multiple clubs.

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