Football NSW, its Associations and Clubs are continuing to work together to plan a re-start of community football, positioning the sport to commence after the Federal and State Government health authorities deem it safe.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement today that the national cabinet had agreed to principles in relation to sport, Football NSW CEO Stuart Hodge said FFA, Football NSW and its Associations were collaborating to develop a set of guidelines that will support the commencement of community football as soon as possible.
“Football NSW have continuously monitored developments and have been in constant contact with FFA and Governments to ensure that we will only return to the field when it is deemed safe to do so.
“Football remains aware of its obligations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of both the football and wider community,” said Hodge.
“We recognise that participants in Football NSW administered competitions and those implemented by our Associations are eager to know that football will be ready to recommence and that will happen once health authorities give the go ahead.
“Playing football will provide significant social and mental health benefits to our participants and we will be ready to go at the earliest possible opportunity.
“Along with our Associations, we are developing a set of guidelines, which will align to the Government to assist our Clubs and participants to re-start community football once restrictions are lifted.”
Football NSW will monitor any changes that may be made by the NSW Government in relation to the NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 which is currently preventing sport from being conducted and expires at midnight on 29 June 2020.
Hodge said Football NSW and its Associations and Clubs had also engaged with local Councils, summer sporting organisations and other users of fields to discuss an extension of time for football to use facilities.
“The football season, like other winter sports that use grass pitches, has been disrupted, impacting more than 230,000 registered players. Many Councils have been sympathetic to the impact and we are working closely with our Associations and other sports in relation to moving the transition date from Winter to Summer sports back, so to be fair for all sports.”
Whilst the exact date of return to play relies on the lifting of Government restrictions, Football NSW and its Associations and Clubs are working on a series of scenarios and competition formats that is focused on providing as much football opportunities as possible in the time frame that the sport will have at its disposal.
Hodge also thanked the broader football community and its many players, families, administrators and volunteers.
“What has been particularly pleasing is the cooperative way everyone involved in the game has worked together and supported our actions and recommendations to address this pandemic.
“I am sure that football will come out the other end a more united force and will resume giving joy to many hundreds of thousands of participants.”
Football NSW has also thrown its support behind the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe app as part of their plan to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The app, launched by the Federal Government, will help state and territory health officials to quickly alert people who may be at risk of having contact with the virus.
In order to help the grassroots football community stay active and connected throughout the temporary suspension period, FFA recently launched an online Skills Hub, developed in association with each of Australia’s nine Member Federations.
To access the Skills Hub and get involved with the #PlayAtHomeChallenge, please visit www.playfootball.com.au/skills-hub.