The Yarra Junior Football League (YJFL) has confirmed that its 2020 season will start in mid-July.
This will coincide with the date of when the Chief Medical Officer deems it possible for up to 100 people to gather outdoors, and is of course subject to State Government approval.
The planned season will comprise 12 home and away games plus two weeks of finals in October. The season would conclude on Sunday, October 11.
YJFL CEO Tim Murray said a detailed COVID-19 management plan would be implemented and actioned by all clubs and teams when the season starts.
“All 32 sporting clubs and over 550 teams that compete in the competition will be trained in COVID-19 management, and appropriate social distancing guidelines of the day will be practiced,” Mr Murray said
“The YJFL operates in nine different Local Government areas around Melbourne and we have been delighted with their support; we have firm agreements with these Councils and we will be ready to start.
“Our Clubs can access grounds for training as soon as each Council approves their plan, and some have already started. We have already provided expert training for our Clubs’ COVID-19 Safety Officers last Thursday, and they are completing the necessary certification currently.
“The YJFL plays a critical role in giving young boys and girls a chance to play and umpire AFL, and that’s why we are taking all necessary steps to start playing as soon as possible. It’s crucial for our players mental health that we send them a strong message: “Footy is coming back!”
“We also believe we have a significant role in bringing communities and families together. We support the concept of having 500 people attending, as our games are very popular with families, including grandparents. If that’s not possible we will live-stream most of the finals games on Facebook, so those that can’t attend will hopefully be able to watch from home.
“The YJFL has taken the view that we have to let our community know when we expect to play. We are planning for games to start in around 40 days by which time we expect more easing of COVID-19 type restrictions which will mean things will hopefully return to some normality.”
YJFL President Jeff Hooper said, “My message for our parents & kids is that we have everything we need from the government to be positive about a return to footy sometime in approximately mid-July. The exact timing is hard, but it’s time to focus on how good it is to be playing footy again. Junior football clubs provide critical support for our young people, who have been so affected by recent events. We need to get these young people back together, into their support networks, being physically active – they tell us how much they want footy to start again.”
3AW – Kate Stevenson & Stephen Quartermain discuss the YJFLhttps://www.yarrajfl.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/clip-2-kate-stevenson-stephen-quartermain-highlights-may-28th-2020.mp3
3AW – Kate Stevenson & Stephen Quartermain talk to Richmond JFC President Andrew O’Halloranhttps://www.yarrajfl.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/clip-4-kate-stevenson-stephen-quartermain-highlights-may-28th-2020.mp3
SEN 1116 – Dwayne Russell speaks to CEO Tim Murrayhttps://www.yarrajfl.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/SEN-1116-Tim_Murray.mp3