All 2020 local football and netball leagues will be delayed until May

No football will be played across Gippsland until May ... at least. file photograph.
No football will be played across Gippsland until May ... at least. file photograph.

THERE will be no football and netball played across Gippsland until May ... at least.

The coronavirus outbreak has resulted in the AFL and regional administration centres across the state, including AFL Gippsland, postpone all competitions, training and practice matches.

AFL Gippsland released a media statement earlier tonight.

"After extensive discussion with AFL Gippsland League Presidents, Club Presidents, AFL Gippsland League Managers, the following will be implemented:

All Senior leagues operating in AFL Gippsland: Season will not commence before Saturday 2nd May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th April.

All Junior leagues operating in AFL Gippsland: Season will not commence before Saturday 2nd May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th April.

All Auskick Centres operating in AFL Gippsland: Season will not commence before Saturday 31st May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th May.

All Hawthorn NGA Academy programs operating in AFL Gippsland: Programs will recess until 31st May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th May.

For Senior and Junior leagues, this includes all practice matches and scheduled home and away games.

It is our strongest advice that this also include any scheduled training sessions.

The AFL Gippsland Commission and Administration understand the serious nature of this matter and are looking to lead and support our clubs and community with considered decision making," the statement reads.

A post on the Mid Gippsland Football Netball League Facebook page. photograph supplied

A post on the Mid Gippsland Football Netball League Facebook page. photograph supplied

The delays apply for all AFL Gippsland competitions including the Gippsland League, Mid Gippsland Football Netball League and North Gippsland Football Netball League.

The Gippsland League released a statement tonight.

"Due to the recent advice regarding COVID-19 from the AFL and AFL Gippsland, the Gippsland League will officially postpone the start of the 2020 season with a commencement date to be confirmed," the statement reads.

"The League will work with the member clubs to formulate the best option in relation to the adjustment of the current 2020 fixture.

"The adjustments to the 2020 fixture will not include matches before 1st May 2020.

"This decision is due to be reviewed after Easter as new information comes to hand on the current state of conditions with the earliest possible date for the season to begin being Saturday 2nd May 2020.

"The League will be following any advice from AFL Gippsland on recommendations regarding COVID-19 for the safety of all our players, members and supporters moving forward and will be enforcing any restrictions passed on from the governing bodies of the sport.

"This includes initiatives such as the cancellation of practice matches and training restrictions. We ask all clubs to be proactive in their approach to keeping your stakeholders safe during this period and follow the regular updates handed down by the governing bodies and government."

The Gippsland League season launch scheduled for March 25 has been cancelled, as has the representative netball trials for March and April.

The AFL released a statement this afternoon.

"This decision and recommendation covers AFL community matches, AFL community training sessions and face to face AFL, WAFC and SANFL education courses," the statement reads.

"Given the current climate of uncertainty and complexity, we felt it was best for our AFL community to take decisive action now.

"The recommendation was collectively agreed upon based on the nature of shared public facilities across community football clubs and the health and safety of our volunteer network."

Country football and netball is set for an indefinite break due to the coronavirus outbreak. file photograph

Country football and netball is set for an indefinite break due to the coronavirus outbreak. file photograph

Netball Victoria had earlier advised its leagues not to start the season until April 14, but it's expected the local netball leagues will follow the decision made by their AFL counterparts.

AFL GIPPSLAND STATEMENT

The AFL has released a statement to all AFL and AFL State associations managed or operated leagues and NAB AFL Auskick Centres programs and have advised a postponement of all activities until 31 May 2020.

After extensive discussion with AFL Gippsland League Presidents, Club Presidents, AFL Gippsland League Managers, the following will be implemented:

All Senior leagues operating in AFL Gippsland:

- Season will not commence before Saturday 2nd May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th April

All Junior leagues operating in AFL Gippsland:

- Season will not commence before Saturday 2nd May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th April

All Auskick Centres operating in AFL Gippsland:

- Season will not commence before Saturday 31st May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th May

All Hawthorn NGA Academy programs operating in AFL Gippsland:

- Programs will recess until 31st May 2020 with this date to be reviewed on or before 12th May

For Senior and Junior leagues, this includes all practice matches and scheduled home and away games. It is our strongest advice that this also include any scheduled training sessions. If a club chooses to schedule training sessions, the advice issued by AFL Victoria on 12/03/20 is repeated below.

Regional Administration Centre

The following processes are now in place for all AFL Gippsland staff -

* All AFL Gippsland staff based at the Regional Administration Centre in Morwell have been instructed to work from home and can be contacted via their mobile phones or email

* The RAC landline will be diverted to staff mobile numbers

* All "in person" external meetings or events have been cancelled. Where applicable, it is our intention to reschedule as many of these meetings and events as possible via phone and or video hook up, the details of which will be communicated to you by the meeting owner

* The RAC office at the Morwell Recreational Reserve will be closed until further notice.

COVID-19

The AFL Gippsland Commission and Administration understand the serious nature of this matter and are looking to lead and support our clubs and community with considered decision making. We ask that clubs report confirmed COVID-19 cases for their players, administrators and volunteers to richard.black@aflgippsland.com.au Details to include club, gender and age. If supplied, additional details will be kept in the strictest confidence. This information will assist us in planning best practice processes for our community.

AFL Victoria advice re: club training sessions - 12/03/20 - Repeated

1. Covid-19 or not, communal use of water bottles should be avoided at all times

2. In the short term it would be prudent to have all players be in possession of their own drink bottle.

3. Place hand sanitisers around the change room and encourage players to use them

4. Anyone associated with a Club if feeling unwell should refrain from club activities immediately, seek medical advice and where appropriate, advise the Club of their absence

AFL STATEMENT

The health and well-being of fans, players, umpires, officials, partners, volunteers and communities has been our number one priority.

We are determined to be part of the whole of community response to slow this COVID-19 virus down - and in doing so, help the broader community and our health systems to cope.

Following a series of meetings over the last number of days involving the AFL and all State and Territory CEOs, recommendations have been made in relation to Community football.

Consistent with the decision yesterday in relation to State League football and the national and state talent programs, all AFL and AFL State association managed or operated leagues along with the NAB AFL Auskick Centres programs currently operating or set to begin, will be postponed until 31st May 2020.

The AFL is also strongly recommending that independently governed junior and senior leagues and associations postpone the commencement and/or operation of their leagues/associations until the same date.

This decision and recommendation covers AFL community matches, AFL community training sessions and face to face AFL, WAFC and SANFL education courses.

Given the current climate of uncertainty and complexity, we felt it was best for our AFL community to take decisive action now.

The recommendation was collectively agreed upon based on the nature of shared public facilities across community football clubs and the health and safety of our volunteer network.

The AFL and AFL State and Territory Associations are committed to supporting community football during this time.

We are a game, but we are not the main game.

The main game is looking after the community and that is the clear priority for everyone at the moment. For football families like all families.

It is paramount that support and engagement in community football continues during these times. It is vital players, coaches, administrators, supporters, sponsors, volunteers and kids retain close links to their local clubs, Auskick Centres and wider league network.

The AFL will continue to meet with state and territory associations in relation to community football and will continually review this decision based on the changing circumstances and advice from government and relevant health departments and medical experts. We will communicate any updates and provide advice in a timely manner.

Football has had many challenges and despite the size of this one, football will find a way through.