Kilmore will play in the Northern Football League in 2016 and beyond after AFL Victoria approved the Blues request to leave the Riddell District Football Netball League.

In September, the Blues made an application to leave the RDFNL and join the NFL from next season, to ensure that club’s survival.

After the RDFNL rejected the move, it was left to AFL Victoria to make the final decision on the proposed switch of leagues.

On Tuesday, it was announced that AFL Victoria had approved the Blues switch to the NFL.

Blues president Dave Milne had previously said that the club wouldn’t survive if it remained in the RDFNL.

“Everyone is rapt,” Milne said on Wednesday morning.

“We were hoping the decision would go our way, but you learn not to expect anything.

“It was our first training session of the preseason on Tuesday night, so it was a jubilant affair.”

Milne said the decision meant the club can start planning for next season.

“We only had about 25 people at training as people were waiting for a decision to be made.

“We can start contracting players now. It’ll be a busy few weeks, but I’m looking forward to it.”

NFL chief executive Peter McDougall welcomed the addition of Kilmore to the league.

The league and its clubs had earlier voted unanimously for the Blues to join the competition.

“The club believes the move to the NFL will enhance its long-term viability and I am certain Kilmore will be successful and vibrant club in our league,” McDougall said.

“The addition of Kilmore assists with growing our senior football competition and will also enable us to increase our number of senior netball teams.”

The Blues footballers’ will play in division 3, while the netballers will play in the Northern Netball League competition on Friday nights.

In a statement, the RDFNL said it respected the decision of AFL Victoria and wouldn’t pursue the matter any further.

The RDFNL had earlier recommended to its clubs to vote against the move of the Blues to the NFL.

“The board and staff of the RDFNL wish Kilmore FNC the very best of luck for their future,” the statement said.

“Whilst disappointed to lose a club that has had 66 years of history in the RDFNL, the league hopes that this move rejuvenates Kilmore FNC and that the club is successful and prosperous long into the future.”

The RDFNL will be a 12 team competition in 2016.