THE Bendigo Football Netball League is pushing for the introduction of a senior women's football division for the 2020 season.
The league's aim is to have the senior women's and men's matches played at the same venue on the same day.
"We want them both to be mainstream," BFNL chair Carol McKinstry said.
"We've had various discussions with the commission over the past few years, it's no secret that we want senior women's football as part of our league.
"We see it as the natural progression."
The AFLCV commission is a body which enables the growth of country football and netball within the region by using strategic planning initiatives and actions.
The BFNL prioritised the introduction of a senior women's league in its strategic plan released in 2014.
Since its release, one of the biggest surprises has been the unprecedented growth and interest in women's football.
Senior female footballers currently play in the Central Victoria Football League Women's competition which is made up of teams from North Bendigo, Eaglehawk, Kangaroo Flat, Golden Square, Strathfieldsaye and Kyneton.
"Back in 2014 the BFNL didn't anticipate the growth and interest in women's football, we saw it as something a long way in the distance," Dr McKinstry said.
"But then the AFLW happened and there has been a massive increase in participation."
It will not be mandatory for all BFNL clubs to have a senior women's team, and teams from other central Victorian leagues will also be eligible to enter.
Dr McKinstry said clubs within the BFNL had showed interest in a senior women's league, but a major challenge was to overcome potential scheduling conflicts.
"I would like to do some research in terms of who is currently playing, what other sports they play and how this would impact time scheduling," Dr McKinstry said.
"The scheduling of matches is something we would certainly discuss with the clubs."
Kangaroo Flat Football Netball Club's senior women's coach Mark Hull said a senior women's division would be a boost for the whole competition.
"In regards to scheduling there would have to be some things moved around, but ultimately it would be the goal to have them played on the same day," Mr Hull said.
Mr Hull has been the women's coach for the past two years, in addition to the under-18 girls team for six years.
Over that time he has been impressed with the increase in participation and the club's commitment to women in football.
"It's booming and it's only going to get even bigger if it's run properly and everyone is on the same page," he said.
"And over time the standard of football has remarkably increased."
READ MORE: Your guide to the 2019 BFNL season
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