Sport

The road back: could football return?

By Kyabram Free Press

GOULBURN Valley League officials have rushed to shut down speculation of a July 18 start date for the 2020 season.

Late on Monday night, a post on the Rochester Football Netball Club Facebook page stated the league was aiming to start an 11-round season in mid-July.

However, GVL operations manager Jo Spencer said several fixturing options remained on the table.

“We've floated lots of ideas of how a season might look, but Rochester took it upon itself to post that,” she said.

“All clubs are really keen to play, but we just have to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved first and foremost. That date has not come from the league, there's been discussions but there's been other dates and other possibilities of how a season might look.

“We've had discussion of tentative dates, but that is certainly not concrete. The league position is as it what per our statement last week, we're waiting to see what restrictions are changed, some were changed on Sunday and we'll wait on those changes scheduled for around June 8.”

On Tuesday, News Corp reported that AFL Victoria had requested an exemption from the state government to allow 500 fans to attend matches – an approach the state’s governing body denied being made.

“That’s us going to the government. That’s not the government agreeing to it,’’ the source is reported to have said.

“It is 500 people. That would well and truly cover if off.’’

Kyabram Football and Netball Club president Peter Learmonth said it would be a positive first step.

‘‘We could get up and running with those numbers,’’ he said.

‘‘To have 500 would be a good start point, but we’d still be looking at the 1000 mark as ideal for the club.

‘‘Those decisions still rely on the government however.’’

Last week, the GVL said meetings in the second week of June would be crucial to any decision.

“The GVL will continue to await the announcements from the State Government in relation to the easing of restrictions, including those around crowd numbers and the numbers of people at outdoor gatherings,” GVL chairman David Roff said.

“These announcements will be a major deciding factor as to whether the 2020 season goes ahead or not.

“The GVL Board is working with all of its member clubs to ensure they are following all the guidelines as released by Netball Victoria and AFL Victoria, as well as those from the state and federal governments.

“We hope to be in a position to make a decision on the season in coming weeks which will provide clarity to clubs, our players, members, partners and volunteers.”