THE major football competition in the local region, the Gippsland League, has provided a lead to the other leagues locally by declaring an intention to return to competition on Saturday, August 7.
Although several of the other leagues are yet to name the day, it looks likely that there will be no football and netball again this weekend, potentially throwing finals arrangements into turmoil.
The Gippsland League clubs met last night to gauge their interest in returning to play, against the backdrop of an easing of the total lockdown restrictions at midnight on Tuesday night, but too late it seems to get the games back on.
There is also the issue of the on-going restrictions around Community Sport, including the decision not to allow spectators.
The restrictions are as follows: “Community sport: Open for all ages, training and competition. Density quotient of 1 person per 4sqm applies. Limited to minimum number of people required to participate in and facilitate the activity (i.e. players, coaches). Spectators not allowed (excludes people necessary for events such as teachers, instructors, trainers, coaches, umpires, carers, parents and guardians).”
There has been little of no comment on when the prohibition on crowds will be lifted, as local leagues appear to have been tarred by the same brush as AAMI Park and the MCG in producing positive cases.
Gippsland FNL Rob Popplestone said the lack of gate takings would definitely be an issue for clubs in trying to get the season back on.
“Would players, for example, be prepared to play for nothing if there were no gate takings because the crowds aren’t allowed. That would be a consideration.”
Once again, there seems to have been no consideration given to the fact that many people watch country football from their own cars, or gather in modest numbers on the sidelines to watch football and netball.
The further delay in getting football and netball restarted, and certainty about their being any play at all while crowd restrictions remain, will already be impacting the start to finals, let alone the integrity of a season in some leagues where clubs have not even played each other team once.
In other responses:
* The West Gippsland Football Netball League posted the following on Facebook yesterday: Following the easement of restrictions, all WGFNC clubs have been provided with options for a return to play. The WGFNC will provide an offical update on a ‘Return to Play’ decision as soon as possible.
* Gippsland League posted: Return to Play update: Based on feedback from the member clubs and the restrictions that are still in place the Gippsland League senior and junior competitions will resume on the 7th of August. Full details will be available later in the week.
* Mid-Gippsland FNL posted: All Clubs of the MGFNL will determine ASAP the way forward within the current restrictions.
* Ellinbank & District Football League: Yet to make an announcement.