Coronavirus Announcement for the YJFL community (19/3/20)

19th March, 2020

Dear Community,

I am writing to you to give you an update on our League’s plans for the 2020 season, as our community continues to deal with the coronavirus.

I want to acknowledge the anxiety within our community, and I also want to acknowledge & thank our Club Presidents for their leadership & support to us all in this time.

We know that the YJFL has a crucial role to play in supporting the mental & physical health of our players, and accordingly I reassure you all that we will get the boys & girls playing as soon as possible. We are independent of the AFL, and while we work closely with them, our Board is resolute that as soon as it is safe, we will do whatever it takes to get the players playing football again.

I need to note however that the insurability of our players is a dominant factor in our consideration of when to return to play. We continue to engage with the AFL & their insurer about when & how our players can be insured when participating in club activities.

SEASON START DATE
Consistent with the above, I confirm that it is our current plan that the YJFL start our season on Sunday May 3.

The AFL recommends games starting on May 31, and we completely understand the AFL’s rationale for this recommendation. The AFL has to consider the gathering of larger crowds, individual League’s ability to follow hygiene protocols generally, and any issues relating to the movement of AFL players into the VFL competition. Not all these criteria are relevant for us, and so we can choose different start dates to their suggestion.

I would note, as I am sure some of you have, that in regard to season start dates, the Federal Government has confirmed that Community sport can continue, but the decision lies with individual Leagues/Codes:

‘Community sport can continue at this stage. However, only essential participants should attend activities, i.e. players, coaches, match officials, staff and volunteers involved in operations and parents/guardians of participants.’
Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for public gatherings and visits to vulnerable groups

BRETT SUTTON (Chief Health Officer) podcast on MMM:

 

All of the above means we as a League need to continue to work closely with the government, our governing body (the AFL) & our Clubs to find a balanced path through this situation to find a satisfactory start date. We have set that date at Sunday May 3, but it has to be said that it may be later.

 

YJFL PRESIDENTS MEETING
I briefed the YJFL Club Presidents last night; we are going to continue to meet regularly via video-conference to ensure we communicate closely about what works best for all stakeholders in our League.

We presented to the Presidents several different scenarios for season start dates, team entries, rules eg player numbers & touch football, finals, games in school holidays/Queens Birthday weekend, etc. The response was very supportive, and over the next few weeks, as our community deals with & recovers from the current restrictions, we hope to be able to resume training resuming & playing games.

The YJFL Executive & Club Presidents agreed that our priority is to get as many games played as possible, with perhaps a 1-week break mid-season.

 

REFUNDS
I confirm that for the time being, we have suspended refunds to players who withdraw; we will review those requests in July. We have always refunded genuine hardship cases, and I don’t expect this will change when we re-consider.

The AFL industry is significantly affected by the scale & timing of this event – at Elite, State, Talent & Community football – and the YJFL is not immune. In the end, when this is all over, we must have a League & member clubs with the financial & operational capability to run our competition in 2021.

Thank you again for your support of the YJFL. Stay healthy.   

Tim Murray
YJFL CEO