CLUBS will be the big winners under a new revenue-raising initiative undertaken by the Central Highlands Football League.
The league has targeted the property market as it looks to steer away from a heavy reliance on finals takings as a main source of income.
Construction of two three-bedroom townhouses on a subdivided block of land in Lucas is expected to get under way in the new year, with the league to then sell the homes and relay the profits to the 18 clubs.
League manager Diane Ryan said the partnership – through Des Rix Homes, Integra, Bendigo Bank and Peter McErvale Real Estate – would help provide a better payout for clubs, regularly given as a credit for umpire fees.
Ryan said clubs had forgone a dividend this year, with a long-term benefit in mind.
“It is expected that as an ongoing partnership, fees which are charged to clubs for participation in the league, which are already some of the lowest in country football, will be decreased even further, lessening the burden on clubs to raise money to meet their costs, for umpires in particular,” Ryan wrote in her annual report.
“The league is owned by the clubs. The league’s money really belongs to all the clubs,” she told The Courier.
Ryan said tackling the property market would be an ongoing project for the league, which had identified on numerous occasions over recent years that it had relied too heavily on finals takings.
“We are hoping to assist clubs with a healthier dividend, but also retain some of the funds for future revenue-raising,” Ryan said.
“We are still sitting quite pretty with income from finals, but that said, with umpires fees you are looking at over $80,000 a year for the entire league.
“These kind of costs have an impact on the clubs.”