AFL NSW/ACT is the latest sporting body to release their return to training statement after the NSW government revised their NSW Public Health Order.
The statement is as states:
Following the recently revised NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 2) 2020, AFL NSW/ACT endorse a return to club sanctioned small group training at community football level in NSW from Thursday, May 21, provided Clubs and participants follow the relevant Government guidelines and AFL NSW/ACT's Return to Small Group Training Protocols are implemented.
Returning to training in a safe, hygienic and controlled manner is paramount for the AFL.
The safety and well-being of our participants is our number one priority and accordingly the AFL Return to Play Framework (Framework) has been developed to ensure we return to play in a safe manner.
The Framework has been informed by the National Principles for the Resumption of Sport and Recreation Activities and the AIS Framework for Rebooting Sport in a Post COVID-19 Environment, in consultation with health professionals and leaders in the football industry.
The following key information and protocols are now available on the AFL NSW/ACT website for download for our NSW Leagues and Clubs:
- AFL NSW/ACT Return to Small Group Training up-to 10 People Protocols
- AFL NSW/ACT Return to Small Group Training up-to 10 People Club Checklist
- AFL NSW/ACT Return to Small Group Training up-to 10 People FAQ's
- NSW Government Public Health Order
Northern NSW AFL manager, Simon Smyth, held a meeting with all clubs throughout the North Coast to discuss the training requirements and their thoughts on the seasons future.
"Stage B of the AIS training framework sees us able to go back to small groups of no more than 10, for AFL because of the size of our field we can have three groups of 10 and that includes coaches as well," he explained.
"Last nights meeting was to provide clarity over those protocols and bounce some ideas off what a season could look like."
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The biggest point of discussion for local Aussie rules clubs was the October school holidays and whether clubs believe they can play during that time.
"The sentiment from the majority of junior clubs was, at this stage, to avoid playing in the October school holidays which would see an end of September grand final for the juniors," Smyth said.
"By finishing at the end of September that gives us an extra month on what we normally have, considering it normally finishes late in August."
Registration fees and sponsorship is another issue facing season restart with Smyth asking clubs to stay patient and await further framework regarding canteens and crowds.
"We've asked our clubs to sight tight for the moment and keep feeding us information about how they're going financially," he said.
"I think at the moment people just want to play, there was even comments last night asking if we can play more junior gala days to get all the clubs together so clubs are just happy to see their boys and girls running around kicking a sherrin again."
AFL NSW/ACT further outlined they're hoping by the June long weekend start dates can be proposed with feedback to be provided from the clubs.