Some club presidents have expressed concern for the state of country football and netball as official talks get underway between AFL Victoria and former AFL Gippsland commissioner John White.
White has called for an independent review into the relationship between AFL Victoria and rural and community football/netball clubs with a petition on change.org that had over 1600 signatures on Friday afternoon.
White said a meeting on Friday with Head of AFL Victoria Rick Bell and fellow staff member Rob Auld was to have the AFL give consideration to the issues facing country clubs.
"The pressure is on them to make good, the pressure is on them to reduce the cost to country community football to operate and they've got to find ways in which they can work with communities, which of course they're not doing right now," White told The Courier.
Gordon president Peter Clifford was critical of AFL Victoria and believed money derived from the grassroots level was funneling up the chain and not from the top down.
"They're trying to tax grassroots football and send the money up to the top...," he said.
"I don't see why we pay fees to go to a higher level all the time to get services that basically we provide for ourselves anyway.
"The only service that the Central Highlands league really uses out of AFL Goldfields is the tribunal."
Another Central Highlands Football League president, who wished not to be named, expressed concern with high affiliation costs and believed that aside from new female and under-9 leagues, there had been a decline in participation throughout AFL Goldfields in recent years.
AFL Goldfields general manager Rod Ward slammed the call for an independent review last week.