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18
March
2020

COVID-19 and AFL Goulburn Murray – FAQs

On 17th March 2020, AFL Victoria recommended that all community football and netball managed by AFL Goulburn Murray be postponed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which AFL Goulburn Murray has followed.

Below you will find a number of FAQs – these will be updated as more information comes to light.

Why has Community Football & Netball/NAB AFL Auskick been postponed?

The AFL has made a recommendation that all AFL Community Club competitions, both football and netball and NAB AFL Auskick Centres currently operating and set to begin, be postponed until 31 May 2020, in line with the recent decision to postpone State League football.

Protecting participants, spectators, coaches, umpires and volunteers to help mitigate risks of COVID-19 spreading in public environments – continuing operating Community Clubs and programs risks those environments becoming a mode for spreading the infection.

Practically it will be extremely challenging to commence seasons as planned, as our advice is that our 2020 Community Football seasons is highly likely to experience significant interruptions in the first part of the year.

We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

We are united across our industry in making hard decisions necessary to protect the health and livelihoods of our football family.

 

Does this only affect Football or does it affect Netball clubs that are part of AFL Goulburn Murray Leagues?

Yes, Netball is affected. These recommendations do affect both football and netball clubs of all Leagues affiliated with AFL Goulburn Murray.

 

When will Community Football and Netball/Auskick recommence? 

The earliest that AFL Goulburn Murray managed competitions will commence will be 31 May, 2020.

The situation will be constantly reviewed, in consultation with our State Bodies and their Affiliates, and further communications will be provided regularly, to advise on latest timings.

 

My Football/Netball Club/Auskick centre is small. Why has it stopped when the Australian Government Health Department advice is only for gatherings of over 500? 

Protecting participants, spectators, coaches, umpires and volunteers to help mitigate risks of COVID-19 spreading in public environments – continuing operating Community Clubs and programs risks those environments becoming a mode for spreading the infection

Australian Institute of Sport guidance states “In a team environment there will be increased proximity and duration of physical contact that can facilitate transmission of respiratory and gastrointestinal pathogens. Research in respiratory infections in travelling sporting teams suggests that the most likely pattern of spread occurs from within a team, rather than from external sources. When an unwell team member joins the team, due to the regular close physical contact between team members the infections can spread readily within a team (Valtonen et al., 2019).

 

What if our League would like to continue playing?

The AFL, in consultation with its State/Territory affiliates, Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers, have provided a strong recommendation to postpone the commencement of football and netball seasons until 31 May, 2020.

Ultimately, non-AFL Goulburn Murray managed Leagues are able to make their own decisions, but we also strongly recommend that the commencement of your seasons are also postponed to 31 May 2020.

The AFL is determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this virus down – and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

 

Are individual Clubs able to continue training?

The AFL, in consultation with its State / Territory affiliates, Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers, have provided a strong recommendation to postpone the commencement of football seasons until 31 May, 2020.

This recommendation also includes the postponement of both Club matches and Club training.

Based on a 31 May, start date, we would expect that organised training may commence from mid May.

However the situation will be constantly reviewed, in consultation with our State/Territory Bodies and their Affiliates, and further communications will be provided regularly, to advise on latest timings.

 

Who has made this decision?

The AFL has worked closely with its State/Territory bodies including the SANFL and WAFL, and our affiliated Leagues to arrive at this decision.  It has also been done in consultation with the Australian Government, World Health Organisation and the AFL Chief Medical officers.

All State/Territory bodies are fully supportive of this decision and have been in consultation with many Leagues and Clubs throughout this process.

 

What’s going to happen with fixtures when the season commences? 

AFL Goulburn Murray staff will work with their affiliated Leagues to reset competition fixtures for the commencement of the season.  A range of options are being considered and further information will be provided in due course.

 

What happens if the situation hasn’t improved by the end of May?

This is an ever-changing landscape and we will continue to rely on the advice of the Australian Government, World Health Organisation, the AFL Chief Medical officers and our State/Territory bodies.

AFL Goulburn Murray will continue to put the health and safety of our players, umpires and staff and the broader community at the forefront of our decision-making. When new information comes to hand AFL Goulburn Murray will inform stakeholders immediately.

We are united across our industry in making hard decisions necessary to protect the health and livelihoods of our sporting family.

For the latest information visit play.afl/covid-19.  The AFL will continue to work through this with our State/Territory bodies and AFL Goulburn Murray will provide an update as soon as possible.

 

How will Community Clubs survive with no revenue from registration fees, sponsorship or playing matches?

Our State/Territory bodies will be working closely with Leagues and Clubs to minimise the financial impact due to COVID-19.  This will include providing advice around reviewing expenditure and sustainability strategies, so that we are well placed to get through this challenge and focus on our recovery and return to competition and training following the postponement.

Further guidance around managing your Leagues/Clubs cost base will be provided in coming days and your League manager will be in contact with you in due course.

 

My Auskick has commenced, do i get a refund?

The Auskick team are curently working through this and will provide more information at a later date.

 

If Auskick is cancelled, are we required to send back the Auskick packs?

No, those children that have already received their Auskick packs will not be required to return them.

 

Will my Community Football Club be offering refunds?

The AFL is working with State/Territory Bodies and Community Leagues to discuss the financial implications of the postponement of the Community Football season. Once we have formalised our position with Community Competitions, we will look to consider what we will do with registration fees in consultation with key stakeholders. Further information will be provided in due course.

 

Is Half Time Auskick going ahead at matches? 

Currently Round 7 of the AFLW season and round 1 of the Toyota Premiership season will see no half time Auskick. As previously communicated, all matches played in the AFLW and AFL games will be without spectators.

 

Will my child be provided with another opportunity to play at Half Time Auskick again this season if it is cancelled? 

Given the changing environment of COVID-19, we are unable to confirm if another opportunity will be provided to your Auskick Centre/child to partake in NAB AFL Auskick half time.

 

Does this apply to AFL 9s competitions? 

This recommendation also applies to AFL 9s competitions, including those competitions currently operating.

 

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