FOOTBALL Federation Victoria will make a last-ditch effort to convince disgruntled Griffith clubs to change their minds and return to the Regional Premier League this season.
As revealed in Monday's The Area News, the governing body of the sport in Victoria has taken over the day-to-day operation of the RPL from the Goulburn North East Football Association.
And FFV general manager of football Tim Frampton's first order of business is to win back the NSW sides that deserted the competition after a turbulent 2012 season.
Frampton is organising a telephone conference for all clubs that were involved in the RPL last season and said FFV was ready to act as a sounding board for past grievances.
"We don't want to lose (the Griffith clubs) at all," he told The Area News.
"I would hope that clubs, who at this stage think they don't want to participate, might just hold fire until we have a conversation.
"There are some clubs that have indicated they don't want to play this year, but hopefully we can persuade some of them to change their minds before they're set in stone.
"I'd like to hear (complaints) from them and understand why they feel that way and see if we can't convince them that we can fix some of those concerns."
Despite this, The Area News understands it is highly unlikely that any local clubs will backflip on their decisions.
Yoogali SC does not have enough players to satisfy local association rules that would allow them to enter into an external competition, while it is known West Griffith SC is no longer interested.
The other two clubs, Hanwood FC and Yoogali FC, have also washed their hands of the RPL at least for 2013.
Still, Frampton said the RPL has "the potential to be a very significant competition", revealing three other sides from outside of Shepparton and Griffith are in talks to enter the league.
"It is a terrific initiative and other cities see value in it," he said.
"We understand some of the concerns of regional football.
"Not to denigrate those who ran it last year, but my competitions team at FFV organise thousands of fixtures in the winter season alone.
"We've got the expertise to do it and the benefit is that it takes the load off the local volunteers who can spend more time at their clubs making them stronger.
"I know some of the issues clubs had last year arose generally in response to competition administration, so I'd be pretty confident we wouldnt have too many of those issues this year, if any."