Wollongong Bulldogs Australian Football Club is being made to answer for more than $10,000 in unpaid fees to the league’s governing body.
South Coast AFL financial records show the Wollongong Bulldogs have arrears that date back to 2008 and will affect their eligibility for the 2015 season. South Coast AFL President Max Avery said the unpaid debt includes league affiliation fees, which cover insurance, umpires and the players themselves.
“The league has a financial agreement with Wollongong which they will have to meet before round one,” said Mr Avery.
Prior to this season, the SCAFL and Bulldogs had an agreement that stated a certain percentage of paid affiliation fees would consider the club financial. However, Mr Avery said that the Bulldogs haven’t kept up their end of the deal.
“Despite the agreement, they [Wollongong AFC] haven’t paid anything and will now have to pay the full amount,” said Mr Avery.
Despite the SCAFL President not specifically stating a figure that they are demanding from the Bulldogs, it is believed to be upward of $10,000.
Wollongong Bulldogs’ coach Lee Murray said the club is currently about $12,000 in debt but said it is yet to see proof of the their arrears.
“We’re hoping to pay off about 90 per cent of that debt before the season starts,” Mr Murray said.
“By our records, we were $4,000 in arrears but the league came back with a $12,000 fee.”
Despite asking for a breakdown of the finances, the Bulldogs are unlikely to oppose the debt, instead focusing on the season ahead.
“With the deadlines in place, a failed investigation or a stall tactic could see us kicked from the comp,” Mr Murray said.
Other SCAFL clubs are unhappy with the situation. Mr Avery said every other club has to pay their full affiliation fees and believes that Wollongong AFC is no different.
However, Avery said it would be a shame to see them eliminated from the SCAFL.
“I obviously want them to keep playing, if you get rid of them you’re going to lose a lot of good players to other clubs and areas,” he said.
“I don’t believe there is much benefit in kicking them out of the competition.”
The university based Bulldogs have been a powerhouse in recent times, winning five premierships, including three first grade premierships in a many years, since their inception in 2008.
To continue their legacy though, the club will have to meet the obligations set to them by the SCAFL before round one on April 11.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly named the Wollongong Bulldogs AFL Club the University of Wollongong Bulldogs AFL Club. This has now been corrected.