The Essendon District Football League won’t be part of the AFL Victoria Worksafe Community Championships next year.

In a statement on the league’s website, the league announced it had made the difficult decision not to enter a team next year.

“Upon review of the EDFL senior interleague program following season 2017, it has been determined that is not in the league’s best interests to participate in the competition in 2018,” the statement said.

EDFL chief executive Marc Turri told Star Weekly the decision to withdraw was about wanting to focus on different things.

This year the EDFL suffered a two-point loss to Eastern Football League.

“There was some strong support from some players and naturally not the support from other players,” he said. “We weren’t always able to put our best team out there.

“We want to channel our efforts and funds in a different direction, focusing on development. We still support the concept and will maybe look at it in another format.”

Turri said said one of those areas they would look at focusing on was the junior interleague program.

He said it was an important concept in the development of the league’s junior players. This year the EDFL fielded a girl’s team for the first time on top of the boy’s interleague teams.

“We are one of the few leagues who make the program free,’ he said.

“We want to maintain that and it’s not easy with growing costs. The priority is always at junior level for interleague.

“We don’t want a young kid missing out for financial reasons.”

The league has participated in the championships the last four years, since the introduction of metro sides into the competition.

The league will revaluate the decision in 12 months time.

Turri said a normal round of competition would be played on the weekend normally set aside for the championships.