Entities combine for good of sport

POSITIVES GOING FORWARD: South East Women's Football Association president Frank Wilcox said while the association will no longer operate, women's soccer has a big future in the region, now under control of the Limestone Coast Football Association.

By Trevor Jackson

SOCCER in the Limestone Coast will take on a new look next season with the news the South East Women’s Football Association will be wound up.

The women’s game will continue but under the guidance of the Limestone Coast Football Association, which runs the men’s competition.

SEWFA was originally established in 2003 by Stuart and Nicky Burch, plus Nigel and Althea Ingel because of a lack of soccer in the city for women.

The change is a disappointing outcome for SEWFA president Frank Wilcox but one he said had to happen.

Wilcox said Football SA preferred one organisation to run the game in the region, rather than the two current entities.

“Ideally there should be just the single association for soccer here in the Mount,” he said.

“That has been accepted and agreed on for a fair while.

“My understanding is we were one of the few regions in the country where we had two associations.”

Wilcox said while it was disappointing for SEWFA, it was something which was necessary to keep the women on the park.

He said he expected the LCFA to have a women’s director on their board, with interest from current SEWFA members to be elected.

He said overall he hoped everything ran smoothly during the transition for the good of women’s soccer in the Limestone Coast.

“All the equipment with SEWFA will be used by LCFA for the girls,” Wilcox said.

“We have a little bit of money in the bank which will be transferred to the LCFA secretary and the women’s director so it is only used for women’s soccer.

“We have tried to do it the right way.

“The most important thing is to keep the girls on the park playing soccer.”

LCFA CEO Eric Nieto believes the change is the best option for the sport in the region.

While he expected some extra work, he said much of that would fall on the clubs.

“We will have more registrations and finances to deal with but I think the clubs will incur the extra work with extra players,” he said.

“I think the first year we will have a few hiccups and a few teething problems but I am sure in the long run it will be a good asset to the sport.“

The LCFA will hold its AGM on Tuesday night where a new position will become available.

“We have changed one of our board positions and will have a women’s director and a men’s director,” Nieto said.

“Our whole aim was to give the women as much exposure and equal rights as the men.

“There will be no difference to us whether you are male or female – everyone will be treated with the same respect.”

While it is certainly a shake up for the sport in the region, Nieto said personally he would like to see other changes to become more inclusive.

“We still have the two grounds at Blue Lake Sports Park SEWFA used,” he said.

“From my perspective I would like to see some women’s games played just before the senior men on a Sunday to get them to be part of the crowd and feel part of the game, not just being isolated out there.

“Our number one priority for the league would be to promote the women.”