Footy, netball return still on hold

There remains hope that football and netball will still return in 2020 for AFL Outer East clubs. 192494

By sports editor Russell Bennett

While the Victorian State Government and Premier Daniel Andrews today moved to ease some of the restrictions surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s been no significant change when it comes to most community sports.

From midnight tomorrow night, golf, fishing, hiking, hunting and other outdoor recreational activities will be allowed in groups of 10 people or less and are still subject to physical distancing measures; while training is allowed in certain professional sporting environments – provided those sessions are self-contained, and undertaken in their own facilities.

The easing of these restrictions will be in place until 31 May, when they’ll be reviewed further.

AFL Outer East moved to outline its stance in the wake of this morning’s announcements.

“On the back of today’s State Government announcement around easing some restrictions, AFL Victoria have informed us that the position remains that no sanctioned training should take place until further notice,” AFL Outer East announced on its Facebook page.

“A number of considerations around health and safety protocols and insurance are being worked through currently. We are waiting on a return to play plan from AFL Victoria and Netball Victoria, which will be available in due course.

“AFL Outer East understands how eager many of you are to return to football and netball. We share that enthusiasm in returning and will provide our clubs and participants with a clear plan for returning as soon as we possibly can.

“Thank you for the feedback and support of our clubs and participants over the past six weeks, which has enabled (AFL) Outer East to understand what a return should look like for our clubs and participants.

“We have had an outstanding response to the participant survey, with over 2000 responses, which has strengthened our resolve to return later this year when it is safe to do so. We will provide the results to the survey to clubs later this week, before making them public early next week.

“Further announcements on a return to play will be provided to our community in the coming weeks. In the short term we encourage our community to stay safe and follow government advice and protocols, so we can return to footy and netball as soon as possible.”

In a short statement posted through its own social media channels, AFL Gippsland echoed the earlier comments made by AFL Outer East.

“AFL Victoria will provide AFL Gippsland with a return to play protocol for our community leagues and clubs once it is approved by the State Government,” the statement read.

While golf is one of the activities that has been given the green light for now, there will be restrictions in place at many local courses throughout the region.

At Drouin, for example, only members will be permitted access to the course for now; members must book in to play; all play must begin from the first tee; and there’s a restriction on one person per cart, unless from the same household.

Flag sticks must be left in at all times, and bunkers are compulsory GUR.