Manly Warringah Football Association CEO David Mason is all guns blazing as the recommencement of Community Football takes centre stage this weekend.
The 49-year-old along with his team at Cromer Park headquarters have been busily preparing for the restart of the grassroots season following the COVID-19 delay that temporarily postponed the sport since March.
“We are all excited to have football up and running and seeing our 18,500 players back playing the game they love. COVID-19 has given us a renewed appreciation of the role grassroots sport plays in our lives and communities and that will be evident across our 17 fields on Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.
“The MWFA staff and Board focused on communicating clearly and regularly with all of our clubs and directly to the players whenever there was factual information during the COVID-19 period.
“We have been adamant since the start that we needed to keep our Clubs and players up to date with what has been happening and our thoughts on how we would shape the competition whenever we were given the go ahead to resume.
“On top of our usual club meetings, which have all gone through Zoom obviously, we have facilitated presentations and workshops with the clubs to ensure they were well prepared for the resumption of training and the return to competition, fully understanding the COVID-19 Safe guidelines.”
Asked how each clubs were shaping with the recent changes and guidelines following strict COVID-19 procedures, Mason was pleased with their progress and dedication each have shown during this tough transitional period.
“Our 17 clubs and in particular the volunteers that drive those clubs have been fantastic since we first went into lockdown.
“The community spirit, trust and cooperation to work together to make sure we would be ready to go whenever the Government gave us the go ahead to train and then play in a safe manner has been refreshing for all of us.
“There has been challenges but we have worked together to make sure we were united in putting in place competitions for 18,500 players recognising that this year was going to be different.”
With the first ball set to be kicked this Friday evening and finals football planned for Sunday October 4th, Mason, like so many other influential football administrators in our sport have expressed their concerns in the need for upgrades to their facilities – fortunately for Mason, Northern Beaches Council have been great supporters of the world game.
“Facilities is a constant battle.
“As football continues to grow, we are constantly faced with trying to fit more people onto the same spaces.
“We are lucky in that the Northern Beaches Council is a tremendous supporter for us and we work collaboratively towards the Northern Beaches Sportsfield Strategy but the reality is we are running out of areas to satisfy the growth of football.
“We are also faced with the reality that our amenities buildings are aging, and the vast majority of our amenities are out-dated and insufficient.”
The well admired football administrator had a great message to the passionate Manly faithful set to participate in the upcoming season.
“I want everyone to get out there and enjoy their football.
“The COVID-19 lockdown and disruption has allowed us all to reflect on how important football is in our lives and how much we enjoy the simplicity of getting together with friends on the weekend to have a game.
“2020 has been a good reset for appreciating the participation and social aspect of community football.
“Sure, you play to win, but the most important aspect of grassroots football is the participation and enjoyment.”