A member-driven group is planning to relaunch the Ballarat Red Devils Football Club.
A core group of members has called a special meeting for Thursday, January 21, with the primary objective of forming a legally constituted board and working to put a sustainable governance model in place which ensures the long-term viability of member-based club.
The club has been without a president and board since its annual meeting on November 10.
A working party of members Michael Bardsley, Andrew Burgess and John Livingston, appointed at the annual meeting, is leading the process.
The three-strong group has carried out a review of the club's governance structure and will report their findings to the special meeting.
Working party spokesman Michael Bardsley said with the club having been in limbo since the annual meeting, it was now time to get it back on track as the flagship of Ballarat soccer.
He said the first step would be the election of an 11-member board at the special meeting - six representatives from the club's membership base, two Ballarat District Soccer Association representatives and three Ballarat Red Devils Investment Company representatives.
Bardsley said the working party had put together a ticket of six members to stand for the board.
"They're committed and ready to work to get the club back to where it needs to be and should be."
Bardsley said it needed to be clarified that the Ballarat Red Devils Investment Company, which was operated by Duncan Smith, had no decision-making powers under the existing football club's governance structure.
He likened the company to a coterie group or sponsor.
Bardsley said while with three board members it had voting rights, the company under the chairmanship of Smith did not have the constitutional power to make any appointments on behalf of the club.
He said this meant that the appointment by Smith of Savas Saglam as Ballarat head coach for the National Premier League Victoria next season was not valid.
"Duncan cannot make coaching appointments as there is no governance structure within the members' club allows him to do so."
Bardsley said the upheaval, which also included the sudden departure of head coach James Robinson, and uncertainty surrounding the Ballarat Red Devils Football Club had done enormous damage to the code in Ballarat as well as the club.
He described the club environment was far from what it should be.
"There's no club atmosphere.
"It should be a place where families feel comfortable, with all levels of the game, from juniors through to the seniors, coming together."
Bardsley said importantly the working party had the support of Football Federation Victoria.
"They've endorsed the process."
He said FFV football operations general manager Matthew Annells was planning to attend the special meeting, which as was required under the Corporations Act had been called by more than five percent of the membership.
Bardsley said details of the meeting at the Ballarat Regional Football Facility on January 21 at 7pm had been distributed by letter to all club members.