AFL NSW – RETURN TO PLAY UPDATE

To our Valued Football Community,

AFL NSW/ACT welcomes the NSW Deputy Premier’s announcement today that from 1 July 2020 community sport competitions can restart for those aged 18 years and under. We are excited to work with our Leagues and Clubs to begin a dynamic 2020 Community Football and NAB AFL Auskick Season with the first bounce of official competition play to occur in July 2020 following a contact-training and match preparation phase during the NSW school holiday period.

This is an exciting milestone for all our junior footy players, made possible by the terrific work of everyone in our community to follow the physical distancing and hygiene protocols associated with a Return to Small Group Training under the revised Public Health Order, and demonstrates our collective commitment to returning to play in a safe and well managed environment.

We will continue to work closely with the NSW State Government to provide further clarity regarding the return of senior competitions as soon as we can.

As we prepare to move towards contact-training and competition play, we will work through a staged and planned approach with our many stakeholders. This will include working with Leagues, Clubs, participants, coaches, umpires and all volunteers to ensure we return to competition play in an effective and safe manner in adherence with the NSW Public Heath Order and AFL Return to Play Framework (RTP Framework).

Next week, AFL NSW/ACT will publish Return to Contact Training and Competition Play Protocols in-line with the RTP Framework to inform and educate our network well in advance of the 2020 community football season.

Importantly, we need to continue to collaborate with local councils across NSW to confirm venue availability and revised access conditions now that we have certainty around a season start date for our junior competitions. AFL NSW/ACT is collaborating with other major winter-sporting codes, and have agreed to overarching season-length principles and dates to ensure a smooth handover with summer sports; and limited impacts to future seasons.

Over the next week, AFL NSW/ACT will wrap up our Club consultation phase across our 14 Community Football Leagues and finalise many league-specific operational decisions, including season length, fixtures, bylaws and financials. With a condensed season upon us, we will ensure we have strong alignment on our approach and ensure key considerations, such as school holidays, are factored into our decision-making.

Today’s announcement provides much-needed certainty and confidence for our junior community football and NAB AFL Auskick network to plan and deliver a dynamic 2020 community football season with communications to participants from both the AFL and Clubs upcoming. We do acknowledge that additional guidance is needed as it relates to spectators and use of canteens, and we will continue to liaise directly with the NSW Government to seek clarity ahead of the season start date.

AFL NSW/ACT continue to encourage our network to visit www.aflnswact.com.au/return-to-play for a comprehensive list of resources including templates, FAQ’s, education resources and regular updates.

An integral component of our RTP Framework is the requirement for each Club to appoint a COVID Safety Officer that is responsible for ensuring protocols are adhered to and participants can return to a safe and well managed environment. We continue to strongly recommend all participants immediately download the COVID-SAFE App, to ensure we can quickly trace and manage any outbreaks in the community.

AFL NSW/ACT will continue to work closely with the AFL, AFL Clubs and other State bodies regarding the resumption of Talent Development Programs and will provide a further update in due course.

On behalf of AFL NSW/ACT, we’d like to thank you for your efforts and ongoing patience, support and understanding as we continue working towards a safe return for community footy in the weeks ahead.

Tiffany Robertson
Acting Chief Executive Officer – AFL NSW/ACT

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