THE Golden Rivers Football League will go into its amalgamation with the Golden Rivers Netball League debt-free after paying off more than $53,000 in debts.
The football board confirmed at last Wednesday's annual general meeting its had paid off debts owing to the Australian Taxation Office and AFL Central Murray thanks to a two-year financial management process.
In what the GRFL's working party described in February 2016 as a "series of errors", the league owed the ATO $23,424 after not submitting Business Activity Statements, as well as AFL Central Murray $30,000 for fees associated with the development and running of the Regional Administration Centre.
An increase to club levies in 2016, as well as a cut in umpires wages, ensured the league was on track to paying off both debts come the end of the 2017 season.
"Levies were also up this year to support the new umpiring structure and the implementation of AFL Central Rivers Umpires," board member, Andrew Gilchrist said.
"This was a win-win all round, as the umpiring improvements meant there was a good standard of football, and the league is now debt-free."
The league took action to rectify its financial situation in late 2015 following the resignation of the competition's board at the time.
"From what we understand it was largely a competency issue, not a criminal matter," AFL Central Murray chairman, Neville Brady said at the GRFL annual general meeting in February 2016.
A working party consisting of AFL Central Murray commissioners and GRFL representatives devised a budget, which was approved going into the 2016 season, to ensure the league will return to financial viability whilst paying off its debts.
"Having a bit of money in the bank gives the league a bit of wriggle room to support a number of initiatives, including junior development," Gilchrist said